"Do you smell something burning or is it just me?"
PART 2: Branding from the Brander's point of view
If you haven't read part one, than I think that you should go back and
read it before you get into this one. Before we get started, let me tell
you about myself. I've been into body modification for quite a bit of
time. My total so far is ten, eight piercings, one tattoo, and a small
cutting I performed 5 years ago on my right foot(it didn't turn out that
well). Most recently I've found myself doing quite a bit of research
into modifying the body from a shamanic as well as historical/- cultural
Recently the modification bug has hit me and my housemates hard. Our roommate Angie has no piercings or anything, but she does have an exceptionally nice Tattoo of an iris flower on her lower back. It's even been featured in a few Tattoo magazines. My other roomate, John, has had a total of 9 piercings, one of which he did himself, and one branding, which is what this story is about.
John, Angie, Our friend Jake, and I decided to take a road trip from Savannah (GA. we all go to an art school here) down to Jekyll Island to visit Angie's mother and mooch some free cookware off of her for our new apartment. After spending an hour or so hanging out and watching the simpsons, we proceeded to go to a local bar, the video saloon, so Angie could meet up with some old friends of hers that worked there.
Upon entering, John and I were hit with a barrage of questions from the mildly drunk bar patrons, who consisted one old man, 2 women which angie knew, and some other guy in his 30s. We got the usually round of "didn't that hurt?", and "please don't take any offense at this but what kind of sick fuck would want to do this to themselves", etc. We were both really polite and began the tedious task of re-educating the public, speaking from a historical standpoint, and then we followed it up with some of john sideshow tricks like the ever popular bar favorite, the human blockhead, and finished with some fire eating.
During a later conversation amongst John and myself, we got onto the subject of branding and how we both thought it was an interesting Idea. Suddenly John said: "Hey Chris, wanna brand me tonight?". I replied "sure, why not". Sneaking into a resort sauna and having a relaxing soak in the hottub, we headed back to Savannah to figure out how we were going to do this.
Angie refused to participate, saying that she was to squeamish to take the procedural photos. We found some of our friends down in the dorm who wanted to come and see, and even someone to take the pictures. Thus equipped with a photographer and a sense of anticipation, we set off to our house to do the deed.
I was pretty nervous, because I would be the one performing the brand upon John. Having never done this before, I was a bit edgy at set about meditating to calm my nerves. Previously I'd done a bit of research into branding, being highly interested in the subject, and went about the task of figuring out and then building the proper tool for the brand.
I decided upon a thick wire hanger as the brand piece itself. The hook piece of hanger had a smooth flat head, and I reasoned that this would be better in the long run than a poorly cut piece of jagged hanger wire. I unraveled the top and cut it into a 4 inch piece, which I bent partially in half. The flat end was bent into a 45 degree angle, and I used some wire insulation tape to bind the end of it. I sandwiched this contraption between a pair of needle nosed pliers and wrapped the tape tight around that as well.
I set up in the kitchen on the counter, scrubbing it down with antibacterial soap and laying out a towel for John's arm to rest on. We had previously decided that it would be on the inside of his left forearm. The design was simple, a thirteen dot pattern. (see Part 1 for details) I swabbed the brand with Betadine and let it stand wor a while. We brought in a CD player with some enigma to set the mood, and I lit two sticks of Green Champa, an Indian temple blend inscence.
John came into the kitchen and sat down in the chair I'd prepped by the counter. It turned out that the counter was too high, so we got a phone book to boost him up to a comfortable level. Our friend with the camera came in, and we discussed a place for him to stand so that he wouldn't be in the way, but still get a good shot. I washed my hands with dial and put on somesterile laytex gloves and john washed his arm with dial. I swabbed the area with betadine and cleaned it off. Showtime!
John and I both started to cycle through our ritualistic deep breathing excersises. I set about calming myself and blocking out all noise to focus my mind on the task. I lit out gas stove and put it on high heat. The brand was positioned above the flames so that the end of the wire was dead on in the fire. Slowly, the dam metal end turned to red, then orange, than yellow white. I looked over at John and asked him if he was ready. He nodded at me to proceed, and It took the brand off the flames and moved into position over his arm.
He closed his eyes and I told him to breath in a deep breath, and then exhale slowly. He tensed, exhaled, and I brought the wire down on his arm. There was a sizzle as it hit his skin, and the smell of burnt plastic, oddly enough. I pulled away and put it onto the stove again. I turned to see John Was smiling and elated. I asked him if he was allright, and he said he was flying on the endorphins. I was pleased that I'd done a good job, and some of my tension eased away. I tell you what, having been one the receiving end of the gun or the needle, and then turning around and being on the giving end of it was a huge rush!
We repeated the procedure twelve more times, each time both of use breathing with one another as each strike was made. Five strikes into it john informed me that He couldn't even feel it, and that it had the remote feeling of having hot wax dripped on him. When we finished, I took a look at my handiwork. Some of it was a little off, so John decided to re-brand all thirteen strikes to make it that much better. The end result was a phoenominally great looking brand, a happy John, and an equally happy Chris.
I was very pleased with the job I had done, being the first time I'd ever done some sort of mod to anyone other than myself. It is a really great feeling to have your work embedded on someone's body for everyone to see. I've been wanting to apprentice for piercing for quite some time, and after a bit of practice on myself and on John, as well as vice versa, I hope to maybe apprentice for branding as well. Who knows, I might even try one of the Fakir's Branding courses in the near future.
submitted by: thedingo
on: 15 Feb. 1999