Q: Where did you apprentice?
A: I value transparency and honesty, so I will always strive to be honest with my clients. I did not apprentice, but this does not mean that I take tattooing any less seriously than someone that has apprenticed. My clients safety is my number one concern. Right from the get go, I would always tell my husband “I don’t want to hurt anyone, so I have to learn how to do this right”. That is why I started and practised for months on fruits and silicon or fake skin, before even thinking about tattooing real skin.
As many of you know, I am an avid researcher. So I did what I do, I researched and researched and researched some more. I found documents from the Saskatchewan Health Authority on Best Practices and a Health Canada document from 1999 on Communicable Diseases and Infection Prevention and Control Practices, and this thing is still super relevant even today. There are step by step guides on how to prep your station, prep your client and clean/disinfect/sanitise your equipment.
I have no illusions about what tattooing is. I know and have always operated under the mindset that this is an invasive procedure, and there are great health risks for clients and for myself. Therefore, I have taken the necessary steps to receive my certification in Bloodborne Pathogens, become a licensed business in Saskatoon, contact and send the necessary documents to the Saskatchewan Health Authority when I decided to open my personal service facility. I underwent an inspection from the SHA and was found to be compliant with all regulations.
Q: Why didn’t you apprentice?
A: Because I love my full time job, and I could not support my family by becoming an unpaid apprentice. Some will see this as a mark against my commitment to learning to tattoo, but working at The Guild Studios has given me the opportunity to work alongside some amazing artists and creatives alike. In addition, I have had the chance to operate in a clean, well-maintained studio space because of my 9 to 5.
I am at a stage in my life where I know what I deserve, and I know I don’t deserve to apprentice somewhere and be mistreated. I know this is not the case everywhere, there are good apprenticeship opportunities out there, but I weighed my options, asked trusted artists for advice and with their support decided that teaching myself would be the best route for me right now.
I say teach myself, but what I really did and am still doing is learning from others everyday. Whether in-person when I get to shadow an artist for a day, or online when I find an amazing artist who is sharing their experience and advice. I also make sure to learn from as many different artists as I can, then I corroborate and compare the different information and hold on to the things that are repeated and repeated again and again.
And when I am stumped about something, you can bet, I do my research and reach out to the artists who have been supporting me.
I may not be the ideal artist for everyone, and that’s okay. But just know, whoever you are, you are welcome in my studio, and you can bet your a$$ I will do everything in my power to ensure you are safe and you leave happy. The last thing I ever want to do is hurt someone, whether accidentally or unknowingly.
Q: How do you ensure the safety of your clients?
A: I educate myself on best practices for maintaining a clean and safe environment for clients and myself.
I practise good hand hygiene by sanitising and/or washing my hands before and after I change my gloves.
I only use single-use disposable supplies, that are only used on one client at a time and disposed of after each client’s appointment. Any equipment/machines used throughout the day are wrapped/covered with a disposable barrier and then disinfected and sanitised between every client.
My station is cleaned, disinfected and sanitised between every client.
Because I only use single-use disposable supplies, including needle cartridges, the studio is not required by the Saskatchewan Health Authority to have an autoclave device onsite.
If you are considering a tattoo, and are interested in learning what to look for when going to a tattoo studio or what questions to ask your artist to establish trust and put your mind at ease, you can visit the following resources:
Be Smart About Body Art
Personal Service Facility Fact Sheet (PDF auto-download)
And of course, feel free to get in touch with me if you have any more questions.