Museum puts body art in the picture

PUBLISHED: 11:11 09 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:35 06 May 2010

The exhibition

The exhibition

A LIVING work of art and world-record holder has made a guest appearance at an exhibition exploring the human canvas. Stevenage Museum s Body Art show presents a whole range of exhibits and photographs, illustrating the various ways in which people decora

Isobel Varley

A LIVING work of art and world-record holder has made a guest appearance at an exhibition exploring the human canvas.

Stevenage Museum's Body Art show presents a whole range of exhibits and photographs, illustrating the various ways in which people decorate and manipulate their bodies.

One such display includes photographs of Isobel Varley, who is in her 60s and truly encapsulates the exhibition's theme.

Her body is almost entirely covered in tattoos, earning her the title of "world's most tattooed senior woman" in the Guinness Book of Records.

Images include a pair of tigers on her stomach, a spider's web under her arm and a big eye on the back of her neck.

Isobel, who lives in Tudor Close, Stevenage, started her colourful habit in 1986.

She said: "I went to a tattoo convention and I got a couple of tattoos done and then I just carried on.

"It's easy to get addicted. Most people can't stop and once they've had one, they always want another."

Since then she has continued to tattoo and pierce almost every piece of skin, leaving just her face and neck nearly untouched.

Isobel said: "I'm not covering my face, I've got bits and pieces on my head but I don't want to cover it entirely.

"I'll probably get my fingers done next."

Isobel sees herself as a piece of art and enjoys being part of the new exhibition.

She said: "I just think it's nice they phoned me up and asked if I would participate.

"I think they've done the exhibition really well, there's a whole room devoted to all different sorts of people and their body art."

The museum's exhibition runs until July 2 and features everything from tattooing and piercing to make-up and hair styles from around the world.

Admission is free and more can be seen of Isobel's tattoos on her website www.isobelvarley.com

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