Carvel tattoo by Mag

Meet Maggie, heart and soul of Carvel. This young and vibrant artist was full of smiles and happy vibes when I walked in to her home that she shares with her artist husband Dom form Cult of One and their two furies.

Its been a 14 year journey for me to get to this final chapter and to Mag’s door. My story leads to a total bilateral hip replacement surgery four years ago, a year of learning to walk, one Psoas release surgery and another year of recovery. As a result I have scars on my hips, memories of physical and emotional struggles and one side that will never be fully recovered. Today I am happy to have my mobility back and to be able to experience life to its fullest again with my four year old daughter and husband that have supported me through it all.

On this journey I have met some incredible people and learned that there are many woman suffering in silence as a result of similar stories. Surgery, medication, scars, they all leave a trace on our psyche, self confidence, self worth and life long memories. Every time I saw my scars, they brought back all the emotions: fear, self loathing, frustrations and disappointments in my own body failures. But there is also the other side of my scar story, the love, the encouragement, support and tenderness I have been given by my family and friends. It is that lightness I wanted to feel when I looked at my scars. I wanted someone to capture that story on my body. This is the reason why I chose to share my story with you who might be going through the same challenges. Woman like myself, scared by hip and mastectomy operations spent an incredible day with a talented team shooting our tattoos and sharing stories. Interviews are coming up in Stylvol .

My scars represent a physical reality of what the body endured and I needed the art to be the opposite, to capture the gentle emotion I felt from my family and friends that held me. I was looking for an artist that works with fine lines and lots of details, it’s what drew me to Maggie’s work. She takes personal interest in collaborating on ideas, she listens and uses the story to create an art piece that captures its essence in the most gentle feminine style. Maggie is a story teller.

The pieces, one on each hip, are about 30cm long. Maggie took a few days to capture them both in detail but the time we spent together is as memorable to me as her warm smile. I feel that choosing the right artist for their individual style and their personality makes their artwork not just a tattoo but a life story.

The scars are still on my hips, they will always be a part of me, of what my body has been through. I do not wish to forget that, I did not wish to cover my scars, instead they are a layer of the depth, they lye in the groves of the fine shading, together with the tattoos they tell my full story. Every time I look at my hips I appreciate what it took for me to be able to walk again and I feel the love I was given.

” KINTSUKUROI : to repair with gold” – it is a Japanese art of mending broken pieces with gold and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

Thank you Maggie for your talent, your warmth and the beauty I’m reminded of by your art.

Carvel bookings:

Carvel studio address: 65 Beach Road, Noordhoek, Cape Town

In the next story meet Mag’s husband Dom from Cult of One, an incredibly talented man who creates unique denim pieces.


Thank you Maggie and Dom for collaborating and participating in this photoshoot with Love & Rockets. A big thanx to the whole team for a fun day in the studio. And most of all to my husband and daughter that got me through the last four years to this final chapter. I am grateful for the incredible people in my life, much love in my heart for you all!    

Article: Kristina Stojiljkovic

Photography of Maggie and hospital story: Kristina Stojiljkovic

Photography of final tattoos: Liesl Le Roux

Tattoo artwork: Maggie Murray at Carvel

Make up and hair: Merle Titus

Styling: Robynn Deedat

Flowers: Theresa Potgieter