Tattoo artist adds dead dog’s cremation ashes into grieving owner’s ink

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Tattoo artist Kat Dukes, from California, has been adding dog’s ashes into her grieving customer’s tattoos after trying it out on herself with her late dad’s cremation ashes

Kat Dukes finds comfort in having her dad's ashes inked into her skin
Kat Dukes finds comfort in having her dad’s ashes inked into her skin

A tattoo artist has been helping dog owners grieve by inking their pet’s cremation ashes into their skin.

Kat Dukes, who has been working as a full time handpoke tattoo artist for two years, has defended the controversial practice, saying it has been done for centuries.

She has even tried it out on herself – adding her late dad’s ashes in to her own memorial tattoo.

“I think adding cremation ashes to a tattoo is a really powerful thing for the people having it done,” said Kat.

“I am comforted every day knowing I always have my dad with me.

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“Being able to memorialise your loved ones with this process is a special way to help grieve the loss of a loved one.

Knowing not everybody is comfortable with the process, Kat explained how she mixes “only a few grains” of ash into the ink.

She says it’s more of a “sentimental aspect” more than anything else.

Kat added: “Many haven’t heard of this, but I certainly didn’t make it up, it’s been done for centuries.

“I get asked ‘is it safe?’ a lot and I can say, from my own experience, I’ve never had any issues with these tattoos.

“That being said, it’s important to find a professional tattoo artist for this service.”

Kat, from California, is usually requested to do one ash tattoo per month alongside her other services – including pet portraits, finger decorations and western or dessert-themed tattoos.







She has been tattooing for about four years
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Image:

Kat Dukes)







She has a studio space is in Oceanside, California
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Image:

Kat Dukes)

She added: “The more I do them, the more people reach out to me about wanting one, especially since most tattoo artists don’t provide this service for people.

“People absolutely love seeing their tattoo for the first time. Sometimes it’s very emotional; I’ve seen lots of tears and also a lot of smiles.

“Usually the time spent tattooing them I get to hear about their loved one and why they decided to get the piece they chose.

“It’s always nice to get a memorial tattoo but it ends up being even more meaningful when you add that extra element.”

Kat started tattooing in about 2018 before making it her full-time career two years ago.

Starting off with house calls, she soon decided to renovate a van into a mobile tattoo studio.

“I grew my business by providing beach views while tattooing,” she added. “I sold my van about six months ago and now rent a private studio.

“My studio space is in Oceanside, California, but I will soon have a renovated school bus that I can travel and tattoo out of on a broader scale.

“I like to provide a comfortable space for people that want a different experience.

“Handpoke tattoos have gotten a bad rap, but people are pleasantly surprised when they find the tattoo process less painful with an easier healing time.”

Kat has been sharing pictures of her work and updates on her school bus renovation on Instagram, under the account @steel_honey, where she has almost 12,000 followers.

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