THE road to recovery after a near-fatal car accident on the motorway seven years ago has been gruelling, heart-breaking and frightening in equal measures for Joanne Sherlock.

Travelling to work one Monday morning in 2016, the car she was travelling in was collision with a lorry as it tried to change lanes and her vehicle was dragged along the motorway before spinning free.

Joanne was working in early years education and while she escaped from the accident with her life, it ended her career.

The now 39-year-old spent months recovering – living in the back of a camper van so her boyfriend Lewis Sherlock could check on her throughout the day while he was at work, as her injuries meant it wasn’t safe for her to be left alone.

Once Joanne was well enough, the couple closed Lewis’ tattoo studio and went travelling in the camper van for two years eventually coming up with a plan to reopen a bigger and better tattoo studio in Wallasey on their return to the UK.

And it’s this tattoo studio – Nomad Ink on Seaview Road – that has just been crowned Wirral’s Best for Tattoos 2023.

What an achievement!

Each week, we will be searching for the best Wirral has to offer in different categories.

The Hair, Beauty and Nail Lounge took the first Best of 2023 title – Best for Hair in Wirral – and Pies4U is officially Best for Pies with Ebony J Nails and Beauty being crowned Best for Nails.

The Fox and Hounds is Best for Roast Dinner, Shaker Shaker was announced as Best for Cocktails and Twenty Sixteen is Best for Breakfast.

Matt Colligan took the award for Best for Fitness last week.

Voting for Wirral’s Best for Pizza is currently taking place and we’re also looking for nominations in our latest search - Best for Pets – a new category for this year.

Next up was tattoos and Nomad Ink on Seaview Road beat off competition from 11 other tattooists and tattoo studios taking our latest Best of 2023 title.

Studio owner and manager Joanne Sherlock

Studio owner and manager Joanne Sherlock

Joanne’s professional background is in early years education and after graduating Liverpool Hope University in 2010 she worked nationwide in a management and business development role.

Joanne said: “It was in 2016, aged 32, that I had a near-fatal car crash on the motorway as I was hit by a 44-tonne lorry as it was changing lanes.

“My car got caught sideways under the front of the lorry and the rest is a bit of a blur.

“I was pushed sideways along the road before spinning free into some roadworks.

“The accident and recovery was career ending and after being diagnosed with PTSD I was completely unable to function by myself as I couldn’t even tie my own shoelaces.

“It took years of rest and treatment until my brain had recovered enough to stay awake all day and Lewis bought a van so he could build a bed inside for me to sleep in as I couldn’t be left at home alone.

“We parked the van outside his studio and he would check on me throughout the day.

“I got to know a lot of his customers and they were all really understanding about how he needed to split his time.

“Many of them are still customers now.”

The couple decided to close the studio and travel around Europe for two years in the camper van.

Joanne said: “18 months in, with one eye on returning home and after a couple of bottles of wine, we wrote a plan on the back of a pizza box to work together.

“I wasn’t well enough to go back to work as I still had issues with short term memory, so we decided to open another tattoo studio, but on a much bigger scale to what Lewis had before.

“Hence the name - Nomad Ink, which is a nod to our travels.”

Nomad Ink is a tattoo and piercing studio in Wallasey which as expanded across three floors and is still growing.

Lewis is the realism portrait artist, Sophie Burke is the colour illustration artist and Chaz Astbury is the linework / blackwork and old school artist.

Chaz is being asked for patchwork tattoos - smaller tattoos, usually using black ink, with either quirky, niche or nature based designs.

Sophie’s customers are looking for botanicals and birds using a muted, ‘grown up’ colour palette.

Lewis’s customers are asking him to do what he wants, which is usually movie based portraits or portraits of female faces and body piercer Ashley Meadows loves nothing more than making piercings perfectly symmetrical.

Tattoos designs by Lewis, Sophie and Chaz

Tattoos designs by Lewis, Sophie and Chaz

Joanne said: “We are an art studio first and foremost offering luxury private tattoo rooms with skilled specialists who take of everything customers need from tattoos to piercings.

“Customers are not in communal spaces with others being tattooed - hey are lying comfortably on the best quality tattoo beds, watching the streaming services we provide, without being disturbed by anyone else.

“Consultations are by appointment only and the studio receptionist is on hand to help visitors, allowing artists remain undisturbed and focussed on their customer.”

Bespoke design is part of Nomad Ink’s business model with tattoo designs being done long before the day of the appointment.

Design time is factored into the artists working week with design approval appointments booked for customers before any tattoo appointments are made.

So what do clients think about Nomad Ink? Why did they deserve to pick up our latest Best of 2023 award?

The three-storey studio on Seaview Road in Wallasey

The three-storey studio on Seaview Road in Wallasey

One happy customer said: “Some of my tattoos represent different times of my life and I'm glad to have shared them with the tattooists at Nomad Ink.

“They always treat everyone with dignity and respect and they understand the magnitude of what they are doing and take pride in doing it.”

Joanne and the talented team at Nomad Ink are feeling humbled by all the customer support they’ve received not only in the past few weeks but since they opened the studio.

She said: “Our customers are incredible as they come through for us every time by sharing our work, writing great reviews and recommending us to family and friends.

“Our customers are some of my favourite people!

“As a business and as artists, we wouldn’t get to do this without them and the fact they keep choosing us is never lost on us.”

She added: “To win this award gives everyone at Nomad Ink a little reminder to keep pushing for excellence because the hard work is paying off.”

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