Piercing 101

Here at Steelpoint we’ve been given a wonderful opportunity for our two receptionists to be taught how to pierce. That includes me! Lots to learn and even though I thought that the most important and terrifying thing would be actually sticking a needle into somebody’s flesh, THAT is the quick and easy part. Everything else, like setting up (in a practical manor, where everything you need is to hand and in the right order of usage), disposing of any contaminated equipment, again, in the correct way – all of that is super important. I am very lucky to have friends who are willing for me to practice on them and here’s a plug: £10 will cover the jewellery and equipment for anybody who wouldn’t mind me practicing on them.

When I told my lovely friends that I was starting to learn one got me forceps and we named them Bruce, and another brought me a picture of an ear much like the one below. Thank you guys.

My first piercing that I’ve done were earlobes, ear cartilage, a surface piercing on one of my teachers here, just on the arm, through and through so he could observe. Tonight I pierced Trevor’s eyebrow (thank you Trev!) and he pierced my ear. It’s really good to learn WITH somebody because we can really help each other, whether it’s remembering something the other forgot (and there are a lot of little tips and tricks) or marking where the piercing should go over and over again until the dot is perfect and not smudged! Letting each other take time to concentrate and think about joining up the dots and where you want the needle to come out.

I’ve also had Mark, who is our resident piercer, show me how to set up and how he does it. It is a rush at first – a sense of achievement – doing something new I guess.

It just so happens that I have a very expressive face, I’ve been told that before, most recently by my drum teacher. So you can enjoy shots like this:

Behold my learning face.

In all honesty it was fine and Donna’s ear is healing well. She didn’t scream or anything. I have no idea why I pulled that face, thanks Gayle, for the capture.

Mostly I have created a full time job for myself sorting through jewellery though. Purchase ordering (or checking purchase orders) and organising tons of titanium by length, width and type/shape basically, is all part of the job. And all so worth it. What a fun job! So watch this space for more of mine and Trevor’s piercing experiences and funny pictures, of course. Was thinking of posting pictures of piercings we’ve done but would you guys say wait for them to heal first or show (sometimes) bloody ones?

All the things!

I had a week off. Never doing that again. Came back to find the supply order of gloves and other important things was being used to prop up the printer…:-)

But the guys have a newly built space to work in and they’re happy about that. Looks great too! And I have an office, kind of. That’s right! We’re expanding! I can finally share the news! With brand new treatment rooms, separate piercing room and new reception area, actually, that’s still kinda being built…we are working on it though! So even though it looks like we are not open from the front, I assure you we are!

And we have a new piercer joining us soon, and he’s going to teach me to pierce! Me! I’m so happy.

HI THIS IS Nadz, i wanted to take a moment to talk about all the awesome things going on here at Steelpoint! First of all yes we are open as usual with new treatment rooms! I know people fear change but it’s only cosmetic; nothing has changed with the artists or how we do things.

Secondly we are attending the Croydon Tattoo Art Show! Basically it is a collective of local artists putting our fine works on sale, it is to raise funds for the Sir Philip Greame Youth Club. It’s free entry so no excuses, there will be live music and an opening night bar! Opening night 9th November doors open 6:30pm and it covers the 10th and 11th 10am-4pm so make you way down and tell your friends and family and come and support your local artists.

Also your brave artists at Steelpoint will be taking part in a sponsored skydive for charity so keep them eyes peeled for more information and if you want to see grown men scream and cry whilst hurtling towards the earth then get involved!

And if that isn’t enough Steelpoint is going to be attending the East Coast Tattoo Expo November 17th and 18th Highfields Park, Clacton, Essex! Gayle will be tattooing at the show and there may be some spots available but you must call or email NOW to get in with a chance. It’s a two day expo with live bands bars hogroasts! I mean how nifty does it sound people! Fuck Christmas it’s every year – get yourself down to one or both of these events and show us your support!

It’s all happening!

Fire or knife?

So I’m watching Sons of Anarchy at the moment…oh yeah, I went there. Compelled to write about what I found out after watching the episode Giving Back where Kyle Hobart gets his massive back tattoo BURNED OFF WITH A BLOW TORCH for goodness sake. Yeah, THAT scene, watch it. I started reading about the culture of biker club tattoos, about how they represent loyalty amongst other things. Also, I looked into how laser removal actually works and thought you might want to know. It’s quite interesting.

In this blog I’ve already mentioned that people get tattoos for all sorts of reasons and in this one I will concentrate on how they can serve as identification (ID) to those around you before you even open your mouth to speak. To some they signify who you are. So, why would you want to be recognised or identified by your tattoos? Well, one of the reasons that springs to mind is a connection to something; a club, a community, a tribe, a gang whatever you want to call it, a social group. Humans have the need to belong somewhere, to something. This commitment, in turn, buys us security of some kind or another and demands loyalty in return. Most people are proud to belong somewhere, be it a country they are from (patriotism), a skills group of some kind (e.g. a sports team) or family. Even though both tattoos and bikes are pretty mainstream nowadays I am referring to the spirit of rebellion and being vocal, or visual if you will, about it.

So in Sons of Anarchy the members of the club (and other characters) pretty much all have tattoos, and there is one of the grim reaper that’s also the logo for the show and the club that a few main characters have on their backs. It’s also the design on the back of all their leather waistcoats. It is absolutely huge, solid black, old school tattoo. It is not there to be a work of art, it is not there for them to show off much, it’s there as a permanent sign of loyalty to the club. So when Kyle Hobart was banned from SAMCRO for abandoning a brother during an arson which lead to that dude’s incarceration of five years (pretty good reason to banish someone from such a fiercely loyal group) he was told to get rid of his tattoo (by covering it up) and he DIDN’T, well…They found out, you’ll have to watch the episode if you want to find out HOW though. Under false pretences they get him to the secluded garage at the clubhouse, then tie him up by his arms and give him a choice “Fire or knife?” What follows is the removal of the tattoo ghetto style, I suppose it’s a punishment in the way of torture as even when he passes out form the pain he is revived by it over and over again as his skin singes and burns.
Here comes the scientific bit. Once healed, the tattoo ink sits under x amount of layers of your skin. As we know skin regenerates over the years just as all the tissue in our bodies does, which is one of the reasons tattoos end up fading and looking “old”. Another reason is that it’s 2012 and tattoo equipment has massively improved since your granddad had a tattoo of a topless woman on his forearm. The design of needles and even formulas of inks have improved to achieve more precise lines that stay. Moving on, if you need a tattoo removed or are forced to chose between being skinned or burning it off, consider this – if NOT ENOUGH HEAT is applied, it can actually make the ink spread even deeper and outside the original lines, making an awful mess and not actually taking any of the pigment out. What needs to happen is short burst of intense heat/light and then the pigment can fragment into smaller particles that are then removed by the body’s immune system. And you don’t burn it till it’s off but do it in bursts to avoid nerve damage as it’s only supposed to pass through just a few layers of the surface of your skin. With proper laser removal treatments we have today, after the initial treatment you gotta give the skin a chance to heal which will take around 6 months for the most part. In those 6 months you will notice the pigment fade more and more, turn all sorts of colours, brown for instance and then further treatment may be required. It is a lengthy process if you don’t wish to require emergency medical treatment for burns!

Trust me

Hey guys, this is my first entry to this blog and there is so much to write about, I can’t believe I’ve left it so long! So let me introduce myself and tell you a little about our wonderful studio Steelpoint.

Actually there are a few exciting things happening here at the moment which I am not even at liberty to discuss yet…but I can’t wait to tell you all.

My name is Anna and you can think of this as a sort of online diary of the day to day experiences in the shop or just things that have been playing on mind I want to share with you. Some of it is funny, some of it is sad, some of it, unbelievable.
Any customer service job is a life experience – the amount of different people you interact with every day, but the tattoo industry isn’t like any other. I don’t know where to start. Firstly, people get tattoos for many different reasons and since you can get pretty much anything under the sun I find I end up educating clients when helping them come to a decision. Now this might mean losing a customer sometimes, or it might mean the difference between making money and making art. When I say the tattoo industry isn’t like any other type of business the main difference I am referring to is the type of service we offer. You do still get an occasional, “this is what I want, this is how I want it, I want it now and I will pay this much and you do it for me, yes?” You might say, well what’s wrong with that? It is important to understand that it’s within the studios best interest, too, that you walk out with the best tattoo; after all, it’s our reputation that has ensured we stay open all these years.

It’s funny how people assume (and we all do it) that what you see in your head is what the person you are speaking to is imagining also. Of course not! We’re not mind readers, and a picture tells a thousand words (I love that phrase) so that’s why visual information is so important when a person comes in the shop and describes what it is that they want in ten words or less. Let me guess, in “normal” sized writing, what IS that? Other people come armed to the teeth with images and that’s great! When you haven’t found exactly what you want and would like the artist to draw your idea a certain way, they are gonna be more likely to draw exactly what you were envisioning and even exceed your expectations that way. Sometimes you may find exactly what you are looking for in a flash book, but it is really important that you communicate with your tattooist and its both of your responsibilities to make sure you’re on the same exact page before you start.

Examples of bird tattoos.

 

Quite often I meet people who seem to have been bullied into getting something done because they were too scared to speak up and now they walk around with a tattoo they are not happy with. Yes cover ups and re-works are possible but it’s always better to get it right the first time.

Another thing I will say, which doesn’t sit right with first timers especially, is that there is an element of trust involved, in any transaction really, but definitely in tattooing. But I see it time and time again, when that person who was maybe apprehensive at first, just go for it and they are so happy with it, they are coming back for another one giving us more artistic freedom quote “because I trust you.”