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Professional Cutting Procedure

i literally woke up one morning and knew what i wanted - an outline of a paw print approximately two inches in diameter on the inside of my right forearm. i wanted it on my right forearm to balance out my tattoo, which is on my left shoulder. i wanted a paw print because of how much my cats mean to me. there is something that i get from spending time with my cats that i don't get from humans. a reassurance, a calming effect that helps quiet my mind and makes me feel more at peace with the world. i decided on just one paw print, because then it represents all animals i will ever have. i had heard loads of good things about blair and his work. i perused his gallery on bme and his work was very good. i made a consultation for saturday july 28th (my twentith birthday). i went down to reactive ink and blair asked me to look through his portfolio. i was still unsure of whether i wanted branding or cutting done. i wouldn't get strike branding done, but am perfectly okay with cautery work being done (i know its irrational). as i was looking through the portfolio i noticed that branding tended to produce much thicker scars. i knew that i wanted a relatively fine scar. after i was finished looking through blair's portfolio, blair took me back into his room at reactive ink. the walls are covered in pictures of assorted tribal peoples with piercings, tattoos and scarification work - giving a sense of the history. blair sat down on the couch/table and told me to sit next to him. unfortunately because i'm so short i had to jump up. he went through his portfolio and explained that although he could get the brand/cutting as perfect as possible the eventual outcome really depends on the person's skin. different areas of skin heal differently and some people may not end up with an even scar. he showed me a picture of someone this happened to. i was impressed both with the fact that he was sitting next to me (and being very friendly) and with the fact that he was honest enough to show me work that had not turned out quite so well (and warn me of this factor). we discussed branding vs. cutting and i decided on having a cutting done because i wanted a much finer scar line. we also discussed different methods of healing the brand: a) wash twice a day with antibacterial soap, b) wash twice a day and pick the scab sometimes (higher risk of infection) and c) wash twice a day, pick scab and use an irritant (i.e. seasame oil) to create even more scare tissue (highest risk of infection). i gave blair a sketch i had done of the work i wanted done. i liked how upfront blair was about everything. after half an hour we were done and i booked an appointment for the upcoming thursday (august 2) after work. i was all excited that day. it was hard to settle down and get anything done at work. i'd asked a friend of mine to come with me, more to take pictures than anything else. she's completely non-modded so we made a bit of a funny pair (me dressed business casual with few visible mods - i work in a bank) and her with no mods whatsoever. i got down a little early, usual for me. we stopped and i had a little something to eat, just to get some sugar in my blood stream. i'd been nervous about two days before, but wasn't really nervous once i finally was there. blair immediately took caroline and i back to his room and i climbed up on the bench. he had caroline sit in an old dentist's chair so she was out of the way (the room isn't very big). i was sitting there and blair got out the stencil and have me back my original drawing. he'd changed it a little, basically making it more even and better spaced. it was exactly right. blair cleaned my arm with iodine and something else, just to be safe. he then took the stencil and asked where i wanted it. i wanted the paw facing my hand (so it looks right to me, which is all that matters). he moved it around and when it looked right he took me to hold the stencil in place with my pinkie and then used some medical soap to wet my arm. he pressed the stencil down, transfering it to my arm. it didn't look right so used water to remove the stencil and then we repeated the procdure twice more until i was satisfied with the position. then it was time to start. i was sitting up, with arm in my lap and blair sitting in front of me. i wanted to be able to see what was going on. blair explained that he would go over the outline lightly at first, to give my body time to get used to the feeling. he started and it was the weirdest sensation - i don't think i can put it in words. it hurt though. i started to get a bit dizzy and told blair that i should probably lie down, which i then proceeded to do. quite amazingly, shortly after i lay down my arm stopped hurting. my endorphins had kicked in. oddly enough, i wasn't tense at all - i was completely relaxed, chatting away like there was no tomorrow. at times my hand would twitch a little, but this was non concious (i.e. it was automatic). blair was really good. i thought that the entire thing had taken about 5 minutes, but in reality it was more like an hour. i was really surprised when he said that when he said it was finished. blair then cleaned the extra blood of my arm (there wasn't much) and remarked that i'm not really a bleeder. he also mentioned that my skin just parted wide open when cut. everyone has different reactions to these things. blair then took a folded piece of paper towel and pressed it against the cutting - a blood print he called it - and gave the paper towel to me. an interesting souvenir. i also got to keep the stencil. he called in the people in the studio to see his work (which made me feel all special) and took some pictures for his portfolio. he then placed a little vasoline over the cutting and wrapped it in some saran wrap (the vasoline was to keep the cutting from sticking to the saran wrap). this was good because it kept my cutting free of the aphids (strange one day aphid plague). we then went out to the front and it turns out that they only accept cash and reactive ink. they let us leave because i had to get some cash. the price was $150 canadian. it was more than worth it. i left the camera as collateral, just cuz. when caroline and i came back i paid blair and tipped him because i thought that he did a great job. blair then took a picture of the two of us because he always does. pictures of the procedure have been submitted and should eventually turn up in blair's gallery. the next day i made the big mistake of trying to take a shower. this hurt like hell, mostly because the wound had not scabbed over and water + open wounds = extreme pain. blair had told me to keep it covered for the first while (at least until its scabbed over), but because it is so hot and humid out i've been wearing tank taps. because i'm not wearing a long sleeved shirt i was using some gauze to cover the cutting. unfortunately i found out that gauze looses its shape easily and tends to get stuck to the wound. i've switched to elastic cling-form bandage which is working out much better. another problem i've run into is that the surgical tape i'm using to hold the bandage down keeps coming unstuck from my arm because i'm sweating. its day three now and its starting to scab over. i find that it is getting easier to move my arm (it stretches/compresses the scab in strange ways sometimes). my friend caroline had been nervous about taking pictures because she was worried that the flash would surprised blair and she didn't want to cause any accidents involving scapels. blair put he right at ease and even suggested that she come take pictures at certain points. blair also didn't just ignore caroline, he talked to both of us which was really nice. i will write another experience on the healing aspect of the cutting, so look out for that in a month or so.

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 10 Aug. 2001
in Scarification

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Artist: Blair+McLean
Studio: Reactive+Ink
Location: Toronto+%7C+Canada

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