My brands had been in the works for some time. As with any of my mods, I researched carefully on this and other websites, and consulted with others in the industry/community. I had originally hoped to have been branded by Keith Alexander in New York. As it turned out, though, Keith has accepted other work, and would be unavailable to work on me for an indefinite time. I still hope to be his client someday. It was through Keith that I got the referral to Megg Mass at Infinite. I first heard about Infinite in Philly through rec.arts.bodyart. Many RABbits have been clients of Infinite, and it came very highly reccommended. I knew Luis Garcia did scarification work, and I contacted Infinite to learn if he did branding as well. I heard back from Megg Mass (co-owner of Infinite), who said that she offered branding in the shop. This began a 2-month-or-so email correspondence with Megg, going over ideas for designs, placement, the experience itself, and finally, setting the appointment. I decided on a simple design consisting of 3 parrallel lines, with the center line about twice as long as the other two. I wanted the same design applied to the insides of both forearms. I chose this design because I wanted to keep it very clean and simple, with the thought that I may go back later for more branding work, or incorporate cuttings into the brands. I decided on a Tuesday at the end of February as the date for my brands, because it would be the first day of a long-overdue vacation, and I felt I should give myself some time to settle into the new mod and get myself on a good aftercare regimen before returning to work. When the date arrived, I hopped on a train and took the 1.5 hr trip to Philadelphia. Neither Megg nor I had realized that the date I picked was Fat Tuesday, and I had no idea that there was any kind of Mardi Gras celebration in Philadelphiha. Still, getting to the shop from the train station only took a few minutes. We didn't run into any crowds until we got to the immediate vicinity of South Street. Infinite is very well put together and organized. They offer a great selection of jewelry in a shop that is clean, comfortable, inviting, and well located in a nice area of the city. I arrived about a half hour early for my appointment with Megg. I took the time to introduce myself to Luis and to prepare mentally for my experience. With this mod, more than any other, I wanted to be in the right space mentaly for the experience. I wouldn't say I viewed the experience as spiritual, but branding (In my opinion) forms a bond of trust and intimacy with the client and the artist, more so than piercing or even tattooing. During my wait, I watched as first a minor requesting a navel piercing, then a drunken Mardi Gras reveler requesting a nipple piercing, were turned away. This only boosted my confidence in the shop and set me ever more at ease. Megg came over and introduced herself. I was put at ease immediately by her professionalism and warm smile. It was clear to me that she was competent and skilled. Finally I found myself on the table/chair in room #3. Megg took her time getting the placement of the transfers just right and helping me more & more to relax and prepare. I was fully expecting strike branding, based on my design. Megg informed me that cautery pen branding would be best for the insides of the arms, since the area contained a lot of veins close to the skin surface. A cautery is essentially just a thick pen with a red-hot tip. The first contact of the pen with my skin brought a not-unpleasant sensation of heat, combined with the relief of the pain not being nearly as bad as I had imagined. I did see smoke, I did smell burnt flesh (again, not an unpleasant experience), and I did hear sizzling as the brand was applied. Megg's gentle method and skill made it a positive, meaningful, and empowering experience. The actual application of the brands was done in about a half hour. Megg then aplied aloe gel to soothe the brands, and burnt sage to encourage scarring. Healing has been going very well. I applied aloe gel for the first 3 or 4 days, but not to the brands themselves. Just to the surrounding (lesser burned) areas. I want to encourage scarring in the brands themselves. Besides that, I've just been using common sense, keeping others away from them, and washing twice a day with antibacterial soap, much like a piercing. Branding is more about the experience itself than the results. It is an experience I would reccommend, especially as done by the hands of a caring professional like Megg. I'd be more than happy to answer email questions!
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 11 March 2001