1st Scarification, and my Magpie
This is my first time writing an experience for BME, so bear with me. It's also been a long time since I wrote anything that was even close to essay format so hopefully this is easy to follow and not too rambling.
I've been fascinated with scars for years, admiring them on others, on myself, and never realizing there was a way to create art with scars and make them even more beautiful. After joining BME and IAM a few years back I was fascinated with the cutting procedures but also a bit scared as I didn't know if anaesthetic was used or exactly how the entire thing was done.
Fast forward to this part year. I've gotten residency in Australia, gotten back into BME and the IAM community and finally I've got the money to really start looking into the modifications that I'd like to get done. Last year for my birthday I got my back and wings tattoo done so I wanted to do something like that again for this year's birthday. I think that something permanent is the best gift I can give myself each year.
After researching through the BME galleries and online forums like pierced.com.au and kept coming back to the work of Wayde. Clean, crisp work, and I kept hearing that his 'bedside manner' was fantastic, he was gentle polite and calm while working and I felt that this was the sort of situation I'd like to be in when getting work done. I also found (yay!) that he used an anaesthetic called 'bluegel' while working which was a huge selling point for myself as well as I'm near phobic about 'cutting' pain, and it's not a sensation that I deal with well. I contacted Wayde, showed him my design and got a quote, and made an appointment for my birthday.
Fast forward to yesterday and the appointment. I met up with Wayde at WestSide Tattoo in West End, Brisbane and we looked over the design that we'd printed out and made a few small changes so it would work better on my back. I mulled around and made myself nervous while he stenciled out the design. I'll say now that I'm very impressed with the time and care that Wayde puts into getting everything just right.
And then, it was time. I'd be lying now if I said I wasn't scared to death. I tend to have a decent pain tolerance but this was crazy. I don't want to tell anyone not to try this if it's something they really want to do but I'll say that it's very intense. I suppose some people will have less pain that others (or be able to handle it better) but it took a lot of will not to crawl out of my skeleton and run away. While it's easier because the scalpel is VERY sharp there's still a very distinct sliding and pulling pain as it goes through your skin that is something I do not enjoy in the least. The nice thing is that it does stop hurting immediately after he stops cutting which is a relief.
Wayde cut the outline of the entire left wing and then applied the bluegel which works on broken skin only. Once that had kicked in a bit he continued with the second pass to deepen the lines, and then more gel and a third pass to bring it to the preferred depth of what he said was approximately 1-1.5mm deep. At that point we paused for a bit while I grabbed a quick drink (I'd suggest having 1-2 bottles of Gatorade or something similar with you because I got thirsty a lot and finished two bottles in the two hours we worked). Once the lines were complete and the gel sat on to completely numb the pain receptors in the area he got to work on the skin removal. VERY weird feeling, as I could feel him gently slicing and sawing the strips of skin out of the feather designs, but I couldn't feel the pain of the process.
Once the feathers were cut out, we paused again and then continued by outlining the head and beak of the magpie. The problem here is that we were over an hour into the procedure and I was starting to get tired and worn down (because it does hurt, and my back is very sensitive so I spent the entire time tensed like a rubber band, ugh) so my pain tolerance was quickly flying out the window. We managed the head outline and deepening, and the removal of the beak tip area....and then it was time for the other wing.
At this point I requested Wayde to go slowly in perhaps three cuts/lines at a time and then pausing to let me catch my breath as I was finding I would tense to the point of pain and I couldn't handle much more than that in the initial cuts. We managed to get down to the tip of the wing and a few of the feather tips and then we had to stop. He went ahead and gelled the wing, deepened those cuts and we stopped there. I felt that if we continued I would have hit my emotional breaking point level for the work and it would have become a negative experience for me so it was best to stop and start again in a few weeks when I was fresh and ready to enjoy the process. Again, thank you to Wayde for being so incredibly patient with me and understanding when I needed to pause, breath or stop altogether.
All in all it was a wonderful experience. The pain has faded quickly and while I'm sore today I know that it will fade quickly and I'll be left with some wonderful work. I'll be meeting up with Wayde in approximately 3 weeks or so and I'll write another experience then with details about healing this time and the work then.
Pictures of the piece so far are here if you'd like to see: Mod gallery @ IAM:rose_quoll
submitted by: quoll
on: 24 Oct. 2006