Residents of Rosecastle of Zephyrhills, a retirement and assisted living facility, recently got tattooed.
Temporarily tattooed, that is.
Take Solace Studios, a tattoo and piercing company in Zephyrhills, brought beer, wine and hard ciders, along with a bunch of temporary tattoos, fake glitter stickers and brow henna, to surprise the Rosecastle residents.
Riley Courtwright, owner of Take Solace Studios, and Michelle Hurst, executive director of Rosecastle of Zephyrhills, organized the July 30 festivities.
Courtwright was inspired to create the event after she saw a social media posting of something similar in a retirement community in Texas.
“When I saw the photos, I knew I wanted to do the same thing,” Courtwright said.
Hurst, a piercing client of Courtwright’s for years, was enthused when Courtwright pitched the idea.
“We started to plan it out, and then COVID hit. When things finally calmed down a bit with COVID this year, we got in there as soon as possible,” Courtwright said.
Courtwright and Take Solace Studios staffers Matthew Chivers, Isabella Brunk and Shaun Sikat took part. Chivers is a tattoo artist; Brunk, a cosmetic tattoo artist; and Sikat, Courtwright’s business partner.
Courtwright worked with the fake piercings. Chivers applied the temporary tattoos. Brunk took care of the brow hennas. Sikat served drinks.
Courtwright said her entire staff wanted to be there, but because of COVID and social distancing, the retirement and assisted living facility asked her to limit the numbers.
“I’m so truly blessed to have a staff that was really willing to do this. They asked on their own to give up working a very busy day of making money to go spend time with the residents at the retirement facility for free,” Courtwright said. “I’m very aware as an employer how rare it is to have an entire staff share that same genuine generosity.”
The event was particularly meaningful to Courtwright, whose mother battles with dementia.
“My heart’s a little partial to the senior community,” Courtwright said.
She said she wasn’t sure what to expect going into the event, and was pleasantly surprised by the receptive response by the residents.
“When you think about the older generations, there’s definitely that gap of acceptance on body modifications and tattoos,” Courtwright said.
“I didn’t really know how they were going to take it, but it was all smiles…the residents just had the most amazing time,” she said.
Creating and showing others the “softer side” of the tattoo industry is Courtwright’s main mission with Take Solace Studios.
“The industry overall kind of has a reputation and I think it’s because no one’s really ever gone out of their way to mend that,” Courtwright said. But, she added: “The tattoo industry really can offer a lot of good.”
For instance, Take Solace Studios does free tattoo coverups of anything racial, gang-affiliated, hatred and so on. It also does free cosmetic tattooing for cancer survivors and free microblading for lupus patients.
“We’ve spent the last two years doing as much good as we could,” Courtwright said.
Courtwright wants to continue doing good for the community, and is already planning on coming back to Rosecastle of Zephyrhills.
And, Rosecastle isn’t the only place they plan to go.
“As soon as we posted the photos from the event, another facility in Dade City asked us to do an event like that for them, as well,” Courtwright said.
She can’t wait.
“I just want to go to all the retirement homes now,” Courtwright said.
For more information on Take Solace Studios, visit Facebook.com/TakeSolaceStudios.
Published August 18, 2021