What is a Hand poked Tattoo?
Hand poking, also known as "stick and poke" is an ancient form of tattooing that does not involve any machines or electricity.
YES the history of this form of tattooing goes back much further than the sewing needle and pen Ink you may or may not have let your best friend mark you with back in high school. While many folks first think of this anecdote when they hear "stick and poke", it's important to take an even deeper look.
Why did I choose to pursue Hand poking?
I am drawn to machine free tattoos for a variety of reasons. The process itself felt very natural and intuitive to me from the very start. I also love the softer visual effect it has. I always tell my clients that to me, hand poked tattoos appear more like graphite, while machine tattoos are like pen or marker. There is a place for each in this world!
Mainly though, I love how hand poking asks both myself and my client to slow down. Nothing can be rushed here, as each and every dot of ink is placed lovingly within the skin. It reminds me to breathe. It reminds me to be present. It reminds me to enjoy the process, and I hope that can be felt for my clients both during our session, and as a reminder each time they admire their adornments.
A Taster of the Origins:
Stick and poke tattooing, also known as hand poke tattooing, has been around for centuries. Here are some early examples of the practice can be found in indigenous communities around the world who used natural materials like bones and plant thorns to create tattoos:
Hand poke tattoos have a rich and diverse history spanning across different cultures and civilizations. Egyptian mummies, dating back to 2000 BC, bear some of the earliest evidence of this art form. The Greeks, Romans, and Persians have written about the practice of hand poke tattoos, while the Polynesians honed their own unique style known as "tatau" through hand-tapped tattooing over thousands of years.
The Maori people of New Zealand developed their own tradition called "ta moko," using hand poking techniques. Similarly, the Cree and Inuit tribes in North America utilized bone needles and natural pigments for their distinctive skin art.
In Thailand, the revered "Sak Yant" technique involved hand poking sacred designs onto devotees using metal rods or bamboo sticks. Cambodia practiced a form of hand poke tattooing known as "Yantra" in accordance with their Buddhist beliefs. Meanwhile, Japan has a longstanding tradition of tattooing called "Irezumi," and Celtic and Nordic cultures also engaged in stick and poke tattooing using natural ingredients like woad for their ink.
This rich tapestry of hand poke tattooing highlights its widespread presence and cultural significance throughout the ages. The cultural significance of stick and poke tattoos varied in different civilizations. In some cultures, tattoos were used as a form of identification or protection, while in others, they were viewed as a symbol of status or a way to commemorate important life events. Many indigenous cultures saw tattoos as a way to connect with their ancestors and spiritual beliefs.