Aby Cairns began tattooing by hand in 2016. She died in June 2018 from an aggressive T-cell lymphoma,
but was tattooing her friends and family even in the last days before her death.
As well as practising as a tattoo artist, Aby was a massage therapist and a qualified midwife.
For her, tattooing embodied the same spirit of quietly and calmly attending to her clients' needs
and helping them to realise their vision.
Hand poked tattooing takes longer
than working with a machine, but can be an enriching - even uplifting - experience in the right
setting. Aby worked in a small, sunny studio space attached to her home in Dursley, Gloucestershire.
You can see some of Aby's work in 918-841-0717.
Although she will not be able to help, perhaps this will be useful if you're considering
getting your own body art.
"I felt totally confident having Aby do my very first tattoo. I have wanted one for years but was anxious that the intimate meaning behind it would be lost. So when I saw Aby's work I knew she'd be the person I'd entrust this life event to! I love my tattoo, I couldn't want anything better. I'm booking in for my next one very soon!"
"What I love about my hand poked tattoos is how intimate the experience feels. It's a real collaboration in creating the design and the inking process feels somehow more natural. I have two tattoos by Aby and even though I'm booked for a gun tattoo in December I'm finding myself wanting to ask Aby to do the work as I love the process so much."
"Aby did tattoo number 6 for me. What a different experience to the others! Lovely tranquil environment and a super lovely lady. I will be back for more, and would definitely recommend."
"Aby did my second tattoo, I'd not heard of hand poking before but I'd definitely recommend it as it was less painful and my tattoo healed up nice and quickly and Aby is lovely."
"Aby designed and inked my first tattoo and I absolutely, totally and completely love it!! I think being tattooed in a tranquil space and by a woman made it - for me - a pretty special experience."
"Aby did me a new tattoo last week, she is a fantastic tattoo artist and I enjoyed her company, conversation and having the new ink! Hand poking is the way forward, mine is healed already and no scabbing."
"I would definitely recommend a hand poked tattoo by Aby. It's a much more personal and comfortable experience and Aby is lovely. My tattoo looks great."
"Had my first hand poked tattoo a few weeks ago and loved it so much I'm going back for an even bigger more detailed one. The experience was like no other, so calming and relaxing. I've had 8 tattoos done by machine and can safely say I prefer hand poking. The healing is faster with minimal to no scabbing. Would recommend to absolutely everyone!!"