I don’t know about you, but I had always wanted to get a traditional tattoo, yes, one of those made with bamboo sticks. And what a better place for that then Indonesia, right?
Bamboo tattoos are a centuries old method of tattooing; it consists of only a wooden stick with a needle tied to its end, the ink gets hand-tapped into the skin. Many southeast asian countries claim to be the birthplace of traditional bamboo tattoos, there have even been mummies found in the Philippines with visible tattoos.
Tattoos have been part of many different civilizations, they have sometimes served as amulets, as status symbols, as love declarations, signs of religious beliefs, adornments and even as forms of punishment. For some of us in the Western world they are a form of complementing our style and defining our aesthetic. For others, it is a way of having permanent reminders of certain moments in life. We, personally, LOVE to get tattoos from the places where we travel to, for us they are permanent and unique souvenirs.
So when we got to Kuta in Lombok we asked the owner of the hotel where we were staying, Marta’s Windows, (go ahead and check it out) if she knew a studio where we could go. What were the chances! She happened to know a really good tattoo artist, Budi Noa (http://bambootattoonoa.blogspot.com/), and she even organized a tattoo session at her hotel, since other guests also wanted to get inked, so we made a day of it.
Noa arrived in the morning with his team of apprentices, they asked what we wanted to get and while some of them prepared the sketches others prepared the bamboo sticks, ink and needles. I know what you are thinking... and YES! All the needles are sterilized and are of single use, like the ones they would use in a conventional tattoo studio.
After deciding the spot and placing the stencil on the right place the magic begun! Surprisingly it did not hurt more than a machine tattoo, in fact it was even be less painful, the skin suffers less stress, since it is single pokes. One of the weirdest sensations was the lack of noise, when you get tattooed with a machine you know when to expect the needle because of the noise, with bamboo tattoos that doesn't happen. It was actually quite a relaxing experience.
And the result was simply AMAZING!