Teaching classes with ink

By Candace Ravan

Former flower child Martha Wheelock still feels connected to the music and times of the ’70s. The English and Gender Studies teacher has a flower and vine tattoo on her left thigh, a piece of artwork she loves now just as much as when she got it over 30 years ago.

Wheelock got inked by the tattoo artist of her then-idol Janice Joplin in the mid-70’s.
“I thought I was really radical,” she said.

Though Wheelock loves her tattoo, she warns students that before they get inked, they should “really believe in the art form and its appropriate placement.”

Yoga teacher Amy Bird got a tattoo of a crane on her hip as “field work” for her final project in her anthropology course on ritual body decoration at Dartmouth University.

Bird drew the picture of the water bird from an old Japanese wood carving when she was a freshman in college and decided to get it tattooed. To Bird, the tattoo symbolizes longevity and happiness and represents her love of water.

While doing headstands in yoga class, Bird’s students often spot her tattoo and ask about the crane. However, Bird jokes that her students “want to talk about anything so they won’t have to do the next pose. We did the next pose.”