Machine free, also known as hand-poke or stick and poke tattoos, are done completely by hand without the use of a machine. The process is sometimes called “stargazing,” as it is created through a constellation of dots that ultimately converge into lines. Hand-poke tattoos are done with the same sterile procedures as machine tattoos, but all of the materials are single-use and disposable. This style requires more time, as they are done by way of the tattooists’ own energy with a tattoo needle repeatedly dipped in ink and applied to the skin, thereby causing a permanent mark. See below for a video explaining the process in 30 seconds!
Will it hurt?
Tattoos, whether they are machine or machine free application, typically hurt depending on the clients' pain threshold, tattoo size and placement. Hand-poke tattoos are more of a poke sensation, which is different from the drag of the machine. Hand-poke is also less abrasive on the skin, so it heals more quickly. Majority of my clients think that hand-poke is less painful, but it varies from person to person. In the case of discomfort, I have a numbing spray available at every session to help alleviate the pain to the best of my ability.
How much will it cost? Do you offer a sliding scale?
Cost varies depending on size, location, and detail. I will do my best to give a general estimate prior to your appointment. I accept cash, Venmo, or Paypal. An ATM is available on location.
It is important to me that my tattoos are financially accessible to anyone who wants them. I offer a sliding scale payment model for any individual who belongs to a marginalized group and believes that they would benefit. Please just make a note in your booking form saying “sliding scale” and I will do my best to work with you to lower my rates, do donation based payment, or pro bono work. This is an honor based system and you do not need to disclose your reasoning, just please be thoughtful of where your needs stand in relation to others. Furthermore,this is not as an implication that members of marginalized groups cannot afford standard rates, but as a tangible recognition of the inequity with which society disproportionately uplifts and encourages white and white-passing individuals.
It is my goal to continually give back to my community and pay reparations. Tattooing was born and began on Black and Brown bodies. Without the cultural heritage of body modification in Black & Brown cultures, Western tattooing would not exist as it does currently.
Just like many other places and practices, tattooing has become a colonized practice where racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, etc. sometimes thrives. I am committed to using my privilege to create a more accessible, equitable and diverse tattooing environment. However, it is clear that the overwhelming whiteness of my clientele as a whole shows that I have a lifetime of further anti-racist work ahead of me if I ever hope to be a meaningful ally.
If you have any feedback on how I may continue to improve, please fill out my feedback form.
Thank you to artists such as Tamara Santibanez, Ricki Proper, Lillin Karin, and A.B. Moore for modeling this in the tattoo world.
How long will it take?
The length of the session also depends on size, location, and detail. If needed, you may also pause the session for bathroom, stretch or refreshment breaks as need. Touch-ups and tiny and/or finger tattoos typically take an hour. An average tattoo will take 2 hours. Heavily detailed and/or larger tattoos can take 3 hours or more. Sometimes multiple sessions may be needed. I do not charge hourly so this will not change the price of your tattoo.
When can I see my custom design?
Custom designs are drawn up the week prior to the appointment and will be emailed to you upon completion. Consider this a jumping off point. I am happy to made as many edits as needed in order to make sure it captures your vision. Please never hesitate to let me know changes you would like.
What is the healing process like?
.At the close of your session, you will receive written healing instructions. Majority of the time, Saniderm is applied to the tattoo for healing. This is a protective and regenerative covering. The first application stays on the tattoo for 24 hours or so. Upon removal, the tattoo is to be washed with a gentle soap and dried with a paper towel. The next application of Saniderm is then applied and stays on the tattoo for 3-5 days. Following the removal, the tattoo is for the most part healed. However, clients should avoid submerging the tattoo in water for at least 10 days and protect it from sunburn. An unscented topical lotion should be lightly applied to encourage healthy healing. If you have extremely sensitive skin, I will recommend a typical tattoo heal, which requires you to wash the tattoo 3-5 times a day and apply a thin layer of Aquaphor or A&D Ointment.
Where are you located?
I am located in a private studio space at the Frog Island Schoolhouse at 66 East Street, Mechanicville, NY.
What should I bring to my appointment?
Make sure to bring your ID (you must be 18 or older), and your preferred form of payment. Wear comfortable clothing and avoid light colors or white (the ink can stain). Make sure you wear clothing that allows easy access to the tattooed area. You may bring a friend as well if you need extra support!