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My meeting with the cautery pen.

When the smell of burning flesh is coming from your own skin your mind and body tends to react very strangely or at least that is what I gather from my first branding experience. For my first branding I went to the only shop in the Elmira, Corning region of New York state that I would trust with my skin and that shop would is DIVINITY Body Piercing in Elmira Heights New York. The head piercing at DIVINITY is a guy by the name of Joe Castellaneta. Joe has been an important member of the body modification scene in the Elmira New York region since he finished his apprenticeship seven years ago. Also I have been apprenticing in the precious art of body modification under Joe for the past seven months as well as becoming really close friends with him. All of these things where taken into account when asking Joe to perform the branding on my back.

When I first asked Joe to do the branding I didn't have the exact design that I wanted so I asked Joe to help me out a little bit (because I knew that his art skills far exceeded mine), and he did. So after a few days of brainstorming and many pages filled with sketches that didn't seem just right we came up with one that we both totally like. Now that I had the design ready I was one step closer to a life changing event. I made plans with Joe to do the branding on the up coming weekend and proceeded to wait. I think that waiting was the hardest part of all because I knew that once I got the brand on my back I wasn't going to be the same person as before, just like everyone changes a little after every piercing, tattoo, suspension or other modification.

Well, as the number of days until getting my branding shrank, my anticipation grew wildly. Finally the day had arrived. When I got to the shop Joe could see that I was ready to go so after a brief conversation we headed to his room. He had already sized the design up and put it onto transfer paper, so all that we needed to do was clean my back, which he did with a povidone-Iodine prep pad, and then the design was transfer it onto my back. 

I had reached "the point". I always use the term the point to mark the point of time where I still have the chance of turning back and chickening out (which has never happened ), but if I continue then there is no turning back, all or nothing. It's sort of like the point of no return. After making the mental decision of wanting to continue on beyond the point I had to follow it with the physical action (which sometimes seems harder) of getting on the table. 

As I climbed up onto the table I looked at the cart to my right that was all set up with supplies just for me. Among those supplies was the cautery pen that Joe was going to use on my back. The cautery pen really stood out because it looked so harmless just sitting there. It was all covered in barrier tape and it was just waiting, waiting to hurt me. I was ready for it. When I got into position on the table I remembered that there was a mirror not to far away so I was going to get to watch the whole procedure. I watched as Joe opened up a sterilization pouch that contained a brand new, never been used before, completely sterilized tip for the cautery pen. When he put the tip onto the pen he pressed the button to make the pen start working and I saw the tip light up a beautiful orange very quickly.  

Now that Joe had everything set up and ready to go he asked me how I was doing and if I was sure that I still wanted to go along with the branding. I quickly said that I was doing fine and that of course I wanted to do the branding. Joe nodded, said ok and said that because this was my first branding he would do a small portion of a line so that I would know what to except. When he touched my back with the cautery pen for the first time I don't think I heard the sound of singing flesh and I don't think that I really felt much of anything except for really really good. When Joe asked me how it felt I told him the truth. It felt great! And I said that I really wanted to continue. Now I'm not going to say that I didn't feel any pain during the branding, because that would be a bold lie. But I'm also not going to say that pain was all I felt. During the procedure I felt something that I only feel when I'm on the piercing table or in the tattoo chair, I just felt a lot more of i t while I was getting branded. One of the funniest parts of the branding has got to be the sound, there's just something about it that made me just want to laugh.

After Joe had finished I almost wanted to complain that the design was too small because I didn't want to stop, but i didn't say anything I just got up and looked in the mirror, it looked so awesome. After looking at it for about five minutes I put my shirt on and continued going on with my daily activities, but I felt so much better when I did them. I truly think that my branding was a great experience and I can't wait to get my next one, hopefully it will be as great as my first one.


submitted by: hung_out_to_dry
on: 14 March 2003
in Scarification

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Artist: Joe+Castellaneta
Studio: DIVINITY+Body+Piercing
Location: Elmira+Heights+New+York

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