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Branding in Toronto

Over the course of the last six months, I had been contemplating cuttings, brandings and implants as future modifications to my body. I had no set time points for accomplishing such tasks except that they were valid considerations to take into account for my long term corporeal transformation. After watching the Modcon DVD, however, I came to the conclusion that I would not be comfortable with cuttings at this point in time. Implants, though I will eventually carry through with them, I feel no need to have them done anytime soon. Branding, on the other hand, seemed so titillating and intriguing. No blood no mess, just cauterized flesh. They symbolic purification of the flesh through fire. I've never been an advocate of self-inflicted cutting or branding. There is a lack of self control and a particular mindset required in order to cut or brand onself and I simply cannot enter that mental environment (nor do I want to). I do not particularly enjoy pain. I do not like inflicting pain on myself. I do not like cutting myself. I do not like burning myself. I'm no stranger to pain and accept it as a normal facet of the modification process. I also prefer tattoos over piercings, which is just as well, considering the fact that my current employers would probably not appreciate me traipsing around work with multiple facial piercings. Anyway, while perusing the branding experiences on BME, I became rather frustrated with the lack of non self-inflicted branding experiences. Hence I find myself contributing as best I can. Having made the decision to get branded, the next few days were a flurry of activity in terms of travel arrangements, monetary status and especially mental preparation. Within the period of a week, thanks to the endeavors of Caitlin in contacting Blair McLean, I was set up with an appointment for Saturday, January 27th at 3:30 p.m. The days preceding my appointment were rife with feelings of nervousness, uncertainty and fear, as well as moments of calmness. That Friday, I left work and made good time over to LaGuardia airport to catch my flight over to London, Ontario where I met up with Sidhe. Although I was exhausted, I figured going out for a little bit wouldn't hurt so we headed out and finally met the adorable Dutchie. Unfortunately for me, my stomach rebelled later that evening and I ended up becoming horridly nauseous. Not the best way to start off my big weekend. The next morning, I woke up early to catch the bus to Toronto and found myself on a smelly bus for two hours (I get sick rather easily on public transportation especially if it's smelly). By the time I met up with Caitlin and Phil Barbosa, I was a rather unhappy camper and my stomach was threatening to act up but I was determined to get some food in me before meeting up with Blair (moderate success there). Finally we arrived at Sal's Tattoo shop and met with Blair where we finalized the design and the layout. I had originally planned on having one or two circles directly between my breasts but upon further thought it was determined that it would not be feasible due to the technical difficulty involved in branding a surface that isn't flat. So after dropping Caitlin off, Blair, Phil and I continued onwards to Blair's private studio. We relaxed with some tea and some music while Blair prepared the stencil and his tools. After some time fidgeting with the placement of the stencil, we were ready to go. Five circles starting right under my breasts and ending above my navel, largest to smallest from top to bottom. It was finally time to lay down on the table. The plan was to outline the first two circles due to their size. They would then be filled in with a large circular piece. The last three would be single strikes with the appropriately sized utensils. Blair donned his face mask (to filter out the fumes), turned on his propane tank, and heated up the 1/4" metal bit. In the meantime, I kept my eyes closed and concentrated on keeping my breathing steady and deep. Finally I heard Blair ask me if I was ready. I replied "As ready as I'll ever be." As he approached my stomach I felt the heat of the metal and then he called out "Strike" so that I wouldn't be caught off guard. The pain was, of course, intense and very hot and lasted for about two seconds. After that point, the nerves were cauterized and I didn't feel anything. Each successive strike was just as intense and I felt the skin melting under the metal and shrinking under the heat.. At the same time, I heard the sizzling and popping sounds of my flesh as it was cauterized. The smell of burnt flesh resembles the smell of burnt hair and, although pungent, wasn't nauseating in the least. Eventually I ended up watching Blair brand me. Really rather neat to watch. The entire process took about15 minutes and required approximately 25 to 30 strikes to complete. I didn't really count. Needless to say, my endorphins were racing and I was really really twitchy. Other than that, the brands were fine and I sat there and poked at them afterwards without feeling any pain. The worst part of it was scrubbing the brands with a toothbrush and toothpaste a few days later. A week after I had the brands done, I sat in the tub and picked off the burnt flesh. That was probably the most unpleasant and it resulted in bloody lymph oozing goodness as well as a fair amount of soreness for another few days afterwards. As of today, the only trouble I've had is healing the top brand. Due to its location (almost in between my boobs), it gets compressed and stretched a lot so the scab keeps on breaking. Other than that, it's wonderful and more branding work may be planned for the future. Huge thanks go out to Blair for being the wonderful person he is, Caitlin for setting up the whole thing, Phil for being there and being such a calming and reassuring presence during the whole process, and of course Carrie for putting up with my boring ass that night. :)


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 18 Feb. 2001
in Scarification

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Artist: Blair+McLean
Studio: Private+studio
Location: Toronto

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