Meet Tiggy – and her tattoos

When the council granted permission for a Tattoo Studio in Manor Lane some residents felt a sense of foreboding.  The image of the grotty parlour full of scary-looking people is hard to dispel.  But meet Tiggy and Max Donelan and all fears disappear.

Tiggy and Max Donelan
Tiggy and Max Donelan

Tiggy, who’s from Gloucestershire, “fell into tattooing” having worked in games design for four years.  She managed a studio and observed before learning the skill by practising on synthetic skin.  Her first attempt was on a friend and Tiggy found it “terrifying”.  However, she built up her experience and now creates elaborate tattoos that cost clients hundreds of pounds – and hours sitting in the chair having it worked on.

Tiggy Tattoos birds
Tiggy Tattoos birds

Tiggy has tattooed Max’s legs with pictures of wildlife on his legs from his native New Zealand – though as they’re work in progress, we have to wait to unveil them.  Tiggy has simple designs on her hands, but Max – who works in banking – avoids having anything visible.  Tiggy also sends away young girls who want to have tattoos on their hands – in case they change their minds later.  She never tattoos faces.

tiggy-3In fact Tiggy does a lot of cover-up work – people with old, poorly executed tattoos with fading colours are redesigned with her bold and colourful designs.tiggy-tattoos

Tiggy has tattooed her younger brother but can’t persuade her parents to try it.  “My Mum says ‘I love the work that you’ve done but can’t you put it on the walls?’”  Needless to say, she hasn’t tattooed her parents but she has tattooed a 55 year old.  “You’re never too old to have one,” she says, pointing out that Judi Dench had one for her 81st birthday.

Tiggy’s own tattoo – done by a friend

Top priority is health and safety and Tiggy still needs to be inspected by Environmental Health.  The needles are tiny and held in an instrument like a pen; no visions of a torture chamber.  “It sounds more like an electric toothbrush,” she says.  She doesn’t deny that having them done can hurt – and can draw blood – but she thinks it’s worth it.tiggy-in-action-1

“I love making pretty pictures and seeing people look in the mirror and smile,” she says. 

At present Tiggy’s travelling to Archway for work and is desperate to be able to walk to her studio from her home in Courthill Rd. She and Max love Lee Green and Hither Green.  “I’m a country girl,” she says, “and this feels like a village.  People aren’t angry like they are up in London.”

Anyone tempted?  You’ve got till January – when she opens – to make up your mind.


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