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"hor" and "xxhed"

    I have had a number of scarification experiences over the past couple of years, all of which I performed myself at home.  My motivation is not some sort of emo self-hatred or teenage angst.  I believe that the human body is beautiful, and I am an artist in many realms, my favorite canvas being myself.  In addition to piercings, I have found scarification to be quite satisfying, especially since the scars produced are not instant, but require some patience and planning.  Once everything heals, I always have a healthy sense of accomplishment and pride.

Since I have not had access to professional equipment, I usually select a standard pair of scissors for deeper cuts and/or more solid lines, and sometimes a razor blade for shading and detail.  Since scarification, in my opinion, is not a method of random slashing, I always abide by a couple of rules.  I sterilize all the instruments (I prefer to use heat and then saline solution), thoroughly clean the area to be cut (soap and water, then rubbing alcohol), and wash my hands before I start.  I have had infected cuts before, and it is a pain in the butt, especially if you have spent any amount of time or energy working on the piece.

I created my favorite scars (thus far) early last summer.  Geometric designs really appeal to me, and everything modified on my body must be symmetrical in some way (just one of my quirks.)  Just as I think that spray-painted graffiti on, say, buildings is an art form (not that I condone vandalism,) so I think that "tagging" one's body in that same kind of style can be beautiful.  I picked a style of tagging- somewhat sketchy and thick, no curves and all straight lines- and freestyled onto the skin some words I had picked out that bear significance for me.  I went for the outer sides of my thighs, right below the hip bones.  On my right side, I carved "hor" in capital letters, and on my left, "xxhed" in lower case (the words are the same size, however).  If you were looking at me straight on from the front, both words would appear to be upside down.  The reason I did that is because my scars are for me, not for anyone looking at me; so when I look down at my legs, I can read what they say.  Surrounding both words, and on both sides of each word, I applied geometric designs that kind of look like city grids, which represent for me certain experiences I have had in the past.  To match, on either side of my belly button on my stomach and stretching to my hip bones, I made horizontal versions of the same kind of grid design that are on my thighs.

I did the words in one sitting, the grids on my thighs in another, and the ones on my stomach last (I needed smoke breaks). It took me maybe twenty minutes for each word, since I am a perfectionist and rather detail-oriented. The geometric patterns on my thighs took a little less time each. The cuts on my stomach were actually the hardest part and ended up needing a lot more touch up work than my legs. Since my stomach is a bit fleshier than the areas right under my hip bones, it was more difficult to get a deeper cut and took more pressure than the tagging. I switched off between scissors for the larger lines and razors for detail and to best achieve the sketchy effect I wanted.

After each sitting, I held clean (key word) towels that I did not mind getting stained to the cut areas so that the pressure would help slow the bleeding some. Then I cleaned the cuts (warm water and anti-bacterial soap, no rubbing alcohol this time) and put on some gauze. As for the healing process, I cleaned my work and changed the dressing (which I only needed for a couple of days until everything scabbed over) only once every day, because over-cleaning can irritate the cuts and possibly lead to infection. About a week and a half later, I went over everything again, and over the course of a month, I did a little touch up work here and there, especially on my stomach. The scars healed completely in about five or six weeks, including all the cutting done after the initial sittings.

Now late January, the words and grids still look dark and distinct and really good, if I may say so myself, and I love these particular pieces the best. I wish I had a digital camera or scanner so I could post some pictures, but that will have to wait until I can borrow a friend's or something. I may be an amateur, but thus far, all my scarification has turned out really well, and I am more than happy with all of my pieces.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 27 Jan. 2005
in Scarification

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Artist: self-done
Studio: home
Location: +

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