Peterlee Tattoo Convention 2006

Published: 29 March, 2011 - Featured in Skin Deep 133, May, 2006


Sunday 26th March saw the fourth annual Peterlee tattoo arts festival to be held at Peterlee leisure centre and it gets busier every year. I think Peterlee is a bloody good show, so in this time of tattooing becoming increasingly popular by the day and shows coming and going what actually makes for a good tattoo convention? I thought that I’d go through the things I think make for a good show and see how Peterlee compares.


Peterlee leisure centre is a large airy building which is easy to find and has plenty of parking, which is free. Inside, the main hall is plenty big enough to lay out booths for 40+ artists and the traders so everyone has plenty of space and are not cramped. On top of this there is still loads of room for people to walk round and see what’s happening on the stage without there being bottlenecks.


The leisure centre has two bars, one downstairs off the main hall and a smaller one upstairs where there is also comfy seating for people who want to chill out for a bit. The bar prices are more than reasonable; in fact they’re quite a bit cheaper than our local pub prices. The leisure centre also lay on food which is fairly varied and again very reasonably priced. 

Convention Organizers

The Peterlee show is run by Eddie Hardiman and his family and helpers, Eddie is a tattooist has been involved in the tattoo world for a lifetime and has worked at numerous shows himself over the years. So all his experience from working other conventions he put to good use when he started organizing and running the Peterlee show. Lots of little things that have been done to make the artists and traders life that bit easier, help with unloading when you get there and loading up at the end of the day as well. Free tea and coffee all day for the artists and traders. Large booths for the artists to work in. They even go as far as taking over the Peterlee lodge hotel, which is just round the corner for the working artists and traders to stay in if they want. If you ask they will literally sort everything out for you so all you have to do is turn up. 

All in all I think that the Peterlee convention has everything you need for a good show so without further ado here’s a bit about this years show.

As with most of the artists and other traders we went up on the Saturday so we could all have a relaxing evening with a pot of tea or two (they do some wicked flavored teas in the hotel bar) at the hotel and catch up with people who we hadn’t seen for a while. Then for us it was earlyish to bed to be ready for the next day.

Sunday morning saw us at the venue by 9.30am setting up for the day ahead, by 11am most artists and traders were putting the finishing touches to their stalls and booths ready for the influx of people at noon. One artist from Scotland had totally lost track of the time of year which was Mothers day and totally decked his stall out with a Christmas theme, complete with fully decorated Xmas tree and “HAPPY CHRISTMAS” flashing lights. I’m starting to get worried about you Gary!

12 noon the doors opened to the public and it seemed that within minutes the venue was swarming with people and it wasn’t long before you could hear the familiar sound of tattoo machines rumbling into life as the artists started their days work. 

Every year the show has its chosen charity or benefactor and this year was probably one that meant a lot to an awful lot of people. The following words are from this year’s program.

“Tony, a very good friend of ours sadly passed away, suddenly, last year leaving two young children. As we all know Tony was one of those men, a gentleman, who was always full of smiles and liked to live life to the full, but he was also one of those who would do anything for anybody literally.

As we all know at last years show Tony helped us raise a large amount of money for the Ben Hurdess appeal – where he got on stage on his birthday and had money stapled to his body parts, mostly his genitals (ow!) this guy had balls, where he solely raised approx £500, he also purchased items in the auction, then walked around with a bucket to increase the funds further”.

So this years charity was for Tony’s children, to this end there was once again an auction and as something new there was an art fusion, which for those who don’t know what that is, it’s where a number of artists all start with a blank piece of paper and start to do a piece of artwork on it, then after an allotted amount of time everybody swaps drawings and the next person carries on with it until all artists concerned have worked on every piece of artwork. The artists working on this were Bob Hoyle, Andrew also from Bob Hoyle’s studio, Katt from Modern Savage and Big G from True Colours. These people gave up virtually their whole day to this project, and the finished pieces were auctioned off. At the time of writing this I don’t know how much was raised in total.

As usual there was some outstanding work done during the day and in total there were 35 working artists who all seemed busy throughout the day.

I personally think that the Peterlee show is one of the friendliest and most laid back shows in the country and to this end I would suggest to anyone who hasn’t visited it yet to make a date in your diary for next year to do so.

My thanks go to Eddie, Bev, Trudy and the whole gang for all their help and hospitality. 

The date for next years show is Sunday 27th March 2007.


And The Winners Are... 

Male Large: John by Comedian Tattoo

Female Large: Josephine by Steve Byrne

Male Small: Shane by Hannah Aitchison

Female Small: (Tied) Emma by Dave Banfield and Suzanne by Carl Cooke

Male Individual: Ivan by Carl Cooke

Female Individual: (Tied), Tina by Rob Doubtfire and Sue by Eddie Hardiman

Male B&G: (Tied) Andy by Spacey and Billy by Dave Wiper

Female B&G: Michelle by Carl Cooke

Male Celtic: Andy by Rob Doubtfire

Female Celtic: Katt by Spacey

Male Tribal: Andy by Carl Cooke

Female Tribal: Claire by Dave Banfield

Portrait: Alan by Helen Soulsby

Wildlife: Andy by Rob Doubtfire

Male Sleeve: Nick by Mick Tomo

Female Sleeve: Thelma by Bob Hoyle

Male Leg: Graeme by Carl Cooke

Female Leg: Sly by Bob Hoyle

Bodysuit: Russell by Garghoyle

Best at Show: Rob by Helen Soulsby

Most Promising Newcomer: James Mellors, Wildstyle

Outstanding Artist: Rob Doubtfire

Best Trade Stand: Gothabilly

Promoting Tattooing: Eddie Hardiman

Best Overall: Eddie Hardiman


Text & Photography: Paul Callaby