The Coven girl gang

Posted by Admin in th-ink on 09 30th, 2019

We met up with Sapphire, founder of The Coven, an online membership for female founders and freelancers, to find out more about her girl gang, her tattoos and inspiration.

Sapphire cafe 5
What inspired you to set up The Coven? What’s the ethos around it? Do you have any membership requirements or rules? 
When I started, my first ever business (a flower studio) I went from being around lots of people all of the time to working by myself. I don’t think until you are in a situation where you work by yourself all of the time, you realise just how isolating it can be. I was battling such conflicting feelings – I was so excited to be running a business and so desperate for it to work but, on the hand, I was also extremely lonely.

This isolation inspired me to build a virtual platform to bring women from across the UK (and now the world) together, so that you’d have somewhere to log in, a place to go to break that isolation and make you feel supported even when you’re sat by yourself.

We don’t have any requirements, we are a Coven not a clique – we are for those who need us, as long as you identify as female and are happy to follow our only rule, which is to be nice, then you are welcome through our virtual doors.

How is it different from other clubs? How do we join? It’s funny, I get asked this question a lot now. When I started The Coven, there wasn’t much else like it, I knew of two other membership platforms who also targeted female founders, one of which was in America. Fast forward 15 months since launch and they are everywhere.

Our main difference is that absolutely everyone is welcome, we have been all about community over competition since day one. And we encourage our members to adopt the same ethos. What’s so beautiful about The Coven is that there are women from hundreds of different industries, all following different paths – we aren’t targeted at a particular industry or a particular type of person. We just want to support those who need it, we are for the people who believe in the power of community and want to be a part of something magical.

Another difference, one that isn’t as obvious, is that I work on The Coven full time and I have since day one. I’m heavily involved, even now we have a team, in the running of the business. I chat to members via email every day, reply to posts in our FB community and often jump on accountability calls to find out what a member has been doing that month. Many platforms take your money and leave you to it, I care about every single one of my members, I see them as people and not money signs.

We have a waitlist, you can add your name to the list to join us. We reopen doors on 1 October and will let in only 500 members, act fast!


Saph, tell us a little about your background, where you grew up and where you live now? What do you love about it? With a name like Sapphire people always expect me to have an exotic background but I was born in Crawley, West Sussex – you can’t get any less exciting. I moved around a lot when I was younger we lived in various places in Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey before moving to Essex when I was nine.

IMG_5204I went to Thailand at 19, tried New York at 23 and then moved to Ibiza at 24, which is where I’ve been living for the past eight months. I’ve actually made the decision and taken on a flat back in Essex near my family. It was a really difficult decision to make, I’d gone through a real bout of loneliness in Ibiza (loneliness seems to follow me!) as I didn’t manage to make very many friends. Once again it was difficult because I had all these people telling me how amazing it must be to live in Ibiza and how lucky I was but… a beautiful view isn’t always fun if you don’t have anyone to share it with. I looked at moving to London but the prices are extortionate and I craved being close enough to my family to have Sunday roasts and see my friends. The flat has literally been signed today, so I’m back to being an Essex girl for at least the next year or so!


Tell us about your tattoos and piercings. Are you planning more? I am covered in tattoos, all of which are extremely random. Tattoos to me, are like memories and I tend to get them as a spur of the moment thing to look back on… this is sometimes a good way to do it but has lead to some hilarious regrets.

My first tattoo I got on my first girls holiday to Magaluf. I absolutely hated the place, maybe if I’d gone to Ibiza I’d have got a classier tattoo. One drunken night led to me getting a chinese symbol on my back. It says courage, to remind me to be brave. The first thing my mum said when I got home was ‘wow, Chinese symbols, they were tacky even in the ’90s’. Every time someone asks me about it, it makes me laugh, although for a while I regretted it, now it just makes me smile.

My second tattoo covers the bottom half of my left arm and is of two very detailed red roses, a completely random idea at the time, wasn’t a particular lover of flowers but I went on years later to own my florist, so it ended up making sense.


Another funny one… I am a HUGE Bill Murray fan and have been for years. During my time in Thailand, my friend said he was going to get an ‘I love Nicholas Cage’ tattoo and so I ran off to get a Bill Murray one. Into my local tattoo shop, shoved down my shit drawing of what I wanted and got inked right then and there. I marched back to the cafe where we all hung out, next to my little wooden hut to proudly show everyone. Turns out he spelt it wrong. It says Bill Mummy. F*cked it.

They aren’t all funny, some are cheesy. When I had a huge and very messy break-up just a few days before my and ex partner had booked to go travelling around Asia together, I was absolutely shattered – both because we’d broken up and because it meant the trip I’d planned for eight months was cancelled. I couldn’t bear to go alone so I said f*ck it and booked a one-way flight to New York and found an apartment to rent. While there I nursed myself back to full happiness and got a tattoo of a broken heart with the American flag in it to remind myself of how strong I am and how much fun I had.


What are your hopes for the future? My only personal goal is to be happy, I want to live a life that makes me happy almost every day. Too many people wish each day away, whether they are waiting for summer or counting down to a holiday or imagining how things will be better if only X thing changed. None of us know how long we’ve got (I have another tattoo that says life is short!) and when our time will be up. I want to enjoy whatever time the universe has planned for me.

The Coven is a whole other story, I’ve got targets and plans coming out of my ears. In 2020 we are expanding, we already have members in 16 countries around the world but we are planning to expand our events worldwide.

You can sign up to The Coven waitlist (which opens tomorrow, 1 October) at

Abstract Evil Eye

Posted by Admin in tattoo ideas on 09 29th, 2019
Abstract Evil Eye

Abstract Evil Eye by Thomas E at StrangeLove LA Tattoo Studio in Los Angeles, California.

Rainbow Bridge

Posted by Admin in tattoo ideas on 09 28th, 2019
Rainbow Bridge

“Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When a pet passes, that has been especially close to someone, the pet goes to Rainbow Bridge”. Piece by Eva krbdk, an artist at Bang Bang Tattoo in NYC.


Posted by Admin in th-ink on 09 25th, 2019

Here at Things&Ink, tattoo conventions are our favourite place to be – it’s like being in a tattoo bubble, all under one roof, united by our passion! And we can spend hours searching for tattoo artists, and looking at their back catalogue of work. So we’ve compiled this round-up of some of our favourite artists who are attending the London Tattoo Convention this year. It’s such an amazing chance to meet the tattoo artists from all over the UK and across the globe who we have been coveting work from and liking on Instagram – the convention is our chance to see their work in the flesh, in all its inky glory, and maybe even get a piece for ourselves

Artists chosen by T&I editors Alice Snape and Rosalie Hurr.

Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 13.48.34

“I adore Aimée Cornwell’s tattoos, a style she calls ‘Fantasia’, they are like works of art on skin. She is on my dream list of artists I would one day like to collect work from.” Alice

“I love Ashleigh Bell’s warm colour palette, which screams autumn, and her bold solid lines. The way this flower fits the space and works with the body is glorious.” Rosalie.

“Dashuai creates beautifully ornate and detailed pieces which glow with mystery and luxury. There is so much emotion and power within the expressions of the tattoo subjects and the colours are to die for.” Rosalie.

Screenshot 2019-09-25 at 08.02.23

“Guen Douglas works at Taiko in Berlin and she is one of the first tattoo artists I fell in love with. She tattoos the most exquisite faces and is also queen of the cover-up.” Alice


“Debora is known for her female faces which often have hauntingly blank stares inspired by the horror genre. However she also extends her repertoire to animals including snakes, and other mythical influenced objects like the hand pictured.” Rosalie.


“The master of combining the female form with fauna. I love the subdued ochres, the curling leaves and how her pieces are often displayed on chests and in between breasts. Just stunning.” Rosalie.

Screenshot 2019-09-25 at 08.10.52

“Livia Tsang works in Toronto, Canada, so I have never had the chance to meet her. But her work is just so beautiful. I don’t yet have a watercolour style tattoo, but Livia makes me want to get one – I think they look gorgeous next to more bold, traditional work, I like the contrast of styles.” Alice


“Lorena Morato has been on my inspirational female tattoo artist list for years. Her tattoos always blow me away, I love her rich yet muted tones, the florals she choices and how she takes her inspiration from ancient mythologies.” Rosalie.


“If you’re looking for beautiful women and outstanding blackwork, Lydia is your artist. Her compositions with the wisps of hair, oh-so painful white highlights that pop, and the adorable freckles, make her women irresistible.” Rosalie.

“Sara Rosa takes illustrative style to the next level with her tattoos. Using shading, dots and lines to add dimension and depth, her pieces come together in a triumphant tableaux – glorious!” Rosalie.

Screenshot 2019-09-25 at 08.12.05

“Urgh just look at this face! I could spend hours stalking Makkala Rose’s Instragram. I mean, just wow!” Alice

The London Tattoo Convention opens this Friday until Sunday at Tobacco Dock in London, you can get tickets from Who are you most excited about meeting?


Posted by Admin in tattoo ideas on 09 24th, 2019

Jaguar by Ash Higham Tattoo, an artist at Rapture Tattoo in Manchester, England.

Hayao Miyazaki Homage

Posted by Admin in tattoo ideas on 09 22nd, 2019
Hayao Miyazaki Tattoo

Homage to the great creator Hayao Miyazaki. Tattoo by Cutty Bage, an artist at Hollow Moon Tattoo in Boone, North Carolina

Needle therapy

Posted by Admin in th-ink on 09 22nd, 2019

Tales of the unexpected, discovering something you didn’t intend to while getting tattooed

Alice Snape nude

I feel intoxicated, out of control almost. I’m in a place beyond my body. It’s almost meditative. I don’t go to a tattoo artist for a therapy session, but there’s something about getting tattooed that feels like it’s turning you into the person you always should have been. My body feels so much pain as the needle goes over my soft skin, again and again – dragging, burning – that it releases something. Breaking down barriers, taking me to places that I didn’t realise I needed to go to.

I know when I sit in the tattoo artist’s chair, and expose my flesh to their needle, that it’s going to hurt. I think about my body as the ink plunges into my skin. Marking it so it will never look the same again. Hiding my flaws, making me, bit by bit, a little more like myself – how I feel I should have always looked.

Perhaps it makes me more honest, more open. I put my trust into that person to mark my body, an emotional bond that isn’t comparable to everyday friendships or encounters. I might chat to my hairdresser about holidays, but a tattoo artist is akin to a lover. There’s exposed flesh and intimacy, touching, skin to skin. And the pain. Pain mixed with pleasure and transformation.

There’s something about it that brings out secrets that I’ve never told anyone. During a particularly long session years ago, as the needle dragged over and over a painful place on my shin, I told my tattoo artist all about a moment back when I was at university, an incident I had all but buried. I was shocked when the words left my lips. I told her all about this guy randomly pushing me over, in broad daylight, while I was walking down the street. Afterwards, I had started having panic attacks, which I’d associated with the stress of my masters. But talking about it with someone who didn’t know me too well helped me to connect the dots. It helped me to move on.

Now I know when I go under the needles, I don’t just expose my flesh. I expose my feelings, I let the act consume, I use it as a therapy and leave, changed, but feeling as I always should have been.

By Alice Snape, first published in Oh Comely issue 46 as part of a series called Tales of the unexpected.
Photo by Alison Romanczuk

Skull & Snake Hip Tattoo

Posted by Admin in tattoo ideas on 09 19th, 2019
Skull & Snake Hip Tattoo

Skull & snake hip tattoo by Chris Rigoni, an artist at Bloodlines Ink in Perth, Australia.

Eagle & Lion

Posted by Admin in tattoo ideas on 09 19th, 2019
Eagle & Lion

Eagle & lion by Tobias Agustini, an artist based in Brazil.

Tatts For Cats 2019

Posted by Admin in th-ink on 09 19th, 2019

Tatts for Cats – a nationwide tattoo themed fundraiser to help cat charities is back for 2019!

tatts for cats_

The tattoo events will take place across the country, featuring a mixture of traditional walk-in flash days and bookable appointments. Each artist and tattoo shop will be drawing cat themed designs especially for Tatts for Cats.  

Organiser Dolly Osborne is an ex-nurse, cat lover and tattoo enthusiast. Her nursing career gave her a natural desire, or perhaps came from a natural desire, to help people. Mental health and other physical health issues meant that Dolly had to leave nursing, but that didn’t quell her desire to help those in need and ‘do something’, so she turned her attention to cats.

Last year, Dolly volunteered with Coventry Cats Protection, in order to fundraise and reach new audiences she founded Tatts for Cats. Three Coventry based tattoo studios, Grizzly’s Art Collective, Queen of Hearts Tattoo Parlour and The Drawing Room, took part last year. With three tattoo flash days and two raffles, they raised £2002 for Coventry Cats Protection.


This year Dolly is working to raise money for Keighley Cat Care with more paw-some cat flash, raffles and prizes. This year there are  ten studios taking part, from Edinburgh to Cornwall, with 25 artists in total so far, these include:

Birmingham: Amy Victoria Bryant at Loco Tattoo Lounge. Tattoo flash designs for Thursday 17th October, message Amy on Instagram.

tattoo cat flash

Cornwall: Hannah Ritchie at Sanzaru Tattoo Studio in Penryn. Tattoo event confirmed for 8th and 9th October.

Coventry: The artists at Grizzly Art Collective will be holding an event on 26th October. Artists include; Danny Dygas, Steph Hesketh, Aga Wojtczak and Aidan Murphy

Queen Of Hearts Tattoo Parlour are also holding a flash day in Coventry. Artists include: Natalie, Jamie Rayburn, Tyler Wainwright, Kate Stenner, Tom Chippendale and their apprentice @renrelix. Follow their Instagram for updates.

Edinburgh: Joanne Baker and Michelle Maddison at Semper. Event confirmed for Sunday 22nd September.

cat charity flash

Keighley: Em Higgins tattoo artist at The Little Tattoo Rooms will be tattooing flash for the event on 5th October.

Lincoln: Zoe Fraser at The Tattooed Arms.

Liverpool: The Painted Ladies tattoo studio will be doing flash. Check out their Instagram for details.

London: Briar Rose Tattoo artists include; Tiggy and Sammie Jones. Event confirmed for 12th October.

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Cock A Snook Tattoo Parlour ‘s tattooing team charity day is on 19th October. Artists taking part include: Becky FosterSteph White and Lily Rafferty.

Cat flash Newcastle

Newcastle: Lauren Spoors at Blind Tiger on 12th October. Her tattooing slots are now full.

Nottingham: Epona Art & Tattoo studio with Martin Crosthwaite and Theresa Gordon-Wade tattooing from their flash sheets on 5th October.

Follow TattsforCats on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for updates and more details.  Purr-fect… 


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