a lil update!

It’s Halloween and let’s enjoy it!

booths-captive-fetus

The first piece of news is a lil creepy indeed – the *in*famous and amazingly creative and talented Paul Booth is launching a jewelry line with some of his best pieces on the front line! Booth certainly has a dark army of followers!

Dress code again – as it seems, English/ British police officers are quite tattooed under the covers and maybe there’s a time to rethink the dress code policy. Nicely put, too: ‘Having a design inked on your body, even if it is clearly visible, has no bearing on someone’s ability to carry out their duty to serve the public and as our survey found in some cases it can act as a great icebreaker and a way of breaking down barriers, particularly with young people.

On a side note, I actually got hired despite my ear adornments and – as it seems – many employees at this particular establishment don’t follow the dress code and the employer is pretty lenient in this regard, too. At least a few female co-workrs have small ear projects with multiple ear piericngs and one guy sports a stretched lobe. We’ll see how it goes but one thing is sure – NO ONE should make us feel bad about our own choices and tastes!

plus-size-and-tattoos

Finally, an interesting subject regarding both body modification and body issues – plus size women and their tattoos. Big is beautiful after all!

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how it reflects my life … sometimes

tattoos-work

A German article discussing the so-called professional appearance and tattoos at work suddenly became more relevant as maybe I’m about to lose a very interesting job opportunity due to my aesthetic choices (“one piercing per ear” for female employees vs. my two stretched piercings per ear). Painful? Sure enough! Better to say now that later? Definitely as I remain an honest and professional potential employee regardless of my looks and choices!

On the side note, do tattoos influence how we think? No! Do our mods make us less intelligent? No! Does the number and size of our piercings make us less honest, reliable and professional? Definitely no!

Personally I love the way my ears look, especially when I’m wearing clear eyelets and my ears look clean and natural! I love the combo of tattoo sleeves, white shirts and ties! I love being surprised by ppl of various age, background and looks proving that intelligence and goodness know no boundaries!

Tattoos on the Sylt island!

I def. love and hate how surprising my life tends to get and the silence during the last few weeks was caused by me living on an island called Sylt, a narrow stripe of land on the North Sea.

sylt-island

I was working in gastronomy there and was told to keep my tattoos covered. Given that most of the customers were old-ish and quite conversative, it def. made sense and I didn’t make any fuss about it. No one had anything to say about my ear jewelry, so I wore my Kaos eyelets all the time (as a matter of fact, one old guy commented on them, said that he never saw anything like this and asked if it hurt – why do ppl always ask about that is beyond me – it’s pierced, stretched, healed, taken a proper care of, end of story!). I do strongly believe (despite some very unpleasant experiences in the past) that I’m nice, good and smart enough to make ppl see past my appearance and come to respect me for my integrity, life and work attitude and generally trying to be a nice person.

As it happened, I got to work side by side with a woman whose son was a piercer in the only tattoo studio on the island. She actually promised to take me to the studio, so I could check it out, maybe talk to the piercer and so on but it didn’t happen. From what she told me, tho, looks like this island isn’t very tattoo-friendly (altho it isn’t openly hostile, either). The piercer works two jobs to make both ends meet (at the studio and as a security guy at a local snobbish night club – Sylt is famous for its nightlife full of local celebs and wannabes) as – let’s face it – well-off pensioners living on or visiting the island aren’t going to get tattooed or pierced very often, are they?

I got to see some tattoos on ppl – monochromatic bad work from scratchers, colorful better done tattoos on younger ppl, some old school small pieces. There were also some heavier pierced individuals – a few ppl with stretched lobes, septum and other facial piercings. No one tho seemed to be knowledgeable about body modifications and my microdermals kept stunning ppl and they asked me all the time how the micros work. As it often happens, ppl with some small tattoos showed me their tattoos when they saw mine – kind of “kindred spirits us” thing! 😉

Overall, a good thing is that most Germans seem not to care about the way other ppl look. If they do, they don’t say that aloud and don’t show they don’t like or appprove of such things. And – as Shannon Larratt always cared to point out – work hard, do your job as best as you can, try to make a difference and show others that “modified” doesn’t mean “bad.” 😉

 

new “bling”

Misleading a lil as it is (bling is more about metal, isn’t it?), good jwelery for stretched lobes is a must! Fortunately for all of us with such lobes, the modern body modification industry provides us with a really broad array of options – metals, glass, bones, acrylic (*yuck!*), wood and silicone which is my fav way to go!

I usually buy either from Wildcat which is Germany-based (in my case) or from BAF from the US. Both are very good when it comes to jewelry and service. The Wildcat silicone eyelets are pretty neat and thanks to a bigger rim they make a stretched lobe look bigger (which is quite important for those to whom size matters!). The eyelets sold by BAf are made by Kaos and they have this awfully nice, subtle look which make the lobes look natural and just pretty (a purely subjective opinion, of course).

jewelry size comparison

Recently I decided to treat myself with some new eyelets and decided to go for the BAf option. Being based in Poland is not easy at times as there are some manufactureres and shops that don’t sell and ship to this country for some reason. With BAF it never was a problem before but it turned out the other way now. After a quick e-mail exchange, however, the BAf ppl were kind enough to accomodate to my needs and a few hours after my inquiry selling and shipping to Poland became definitely possible.

Since my order was shipped at the end of December (holliday season!), I didn’t really know how long it would take to get it here. Fortunately, the waiting period wasn’t too long after all and 12 days later the order landed safely in my mail box.

my BAF stuff

BAF cares about the environment (a huge thing in my eyes!) therefore they offer a ‘conserve plastic baggies’ option and since I chose it during the buying process, I received two pairs of eyelets squished together in one tiny plastic baggy (the eyelets are made from silicone, they are very flexible and they were perfectly ok after taking them out of the baggy). BAf always gives some freebies, too – a guage card (an interesting piece of info esp. that gauge and metric sizes are not that easy to memorize, so a cheat sheet is always useful!) and a free sticker which is pretty cool on its own.

The eyelets look great – they make the lobes look natural, kind of classy and the size isn’t too obtrusive.

This is 9/16″ (14mm) transluscent blue silicone eyelet:

14mm blue

and that’s a glitter pink 9/16″ (14mm) silicone eyelet:

14mm pink

 

I actually like the pink ones better now but – as with all preferences and tastes – things may change in the future! 😉

Devil is in the details (or so they say), so it’s pretty sensible now and then to get ourselves sth nice, esp. when it comes to body jewelry – it’s important to buy good quality jewelry to make both us and our lobes happy! 😉

 

subject/ object – Welkulturen Museum

weltkuturen museum

Today I planned only a visit to the local Dom (cathedral) which silhuete I can see every day during my runs along the Main river but since I’m feeling some slight time pressure, I also decided to go to the Weltkulturen Museum (conveniently located on the Museumsufer, a long street full of many different museums by the river).

The current exhbition is ‘Foreign Exchange (or the stories you wouldn’t tell a stranger)‘ focused on the history of collecting artifacts for the museums and everything related to it (colonialism, white ethnocenrtism, racism, ‘saving’ and exploiting traditional cultures, ways to perceive the museum collections and how they were/ are created/ stored/ presented).

Right after buying my ticket I was informed that I wasn’t allowed to take any pics, so even though I had my phone all out and ready, I don’t have even one picture of the exhibition. It’s a shame in a way but on the other hand, when we take pictures something gets lost – we focus so much on photographing our adventures that we don’t have enough of our time and attention to really experience here and now!

The exhibit isn’t big, just a few rooms but it contains many interesting artifacts and photographs. I liked the way some of the photographs were described (in German) – nouns, verbs, adjectives barked at the visitors, a stream of conscience of sort not only to inform but also move and show how objectified the ingenious people used to be and how ‘other’ they still might seem to ‘us,’ whatever ‘us’ means (although it usually means ‘white/ middle class/ relatively well off’). The photographs are in a few different sizes, from big posters to just ‘thumbnails’ showing copies of old photographs from the times when ‘white man’ was always better, wiser and stronger than anyone else. Kenyan girls selling bead necklaces by the road, passed/ stared by a group of white people in an automobile, amused and curious of the Other;  a group of black girls clad in the white man’s fashion taught by a white noun in the middle of African nowhere, a black, long gone man in some traditional clothing and a lip plate. Who were these people, what were their stories, how come that the only trace of their existence is now not even on original photographs but on scans, copies, something to be stared at?

Other visitiors stared at me, I did stare at other visitors… a fleeting encounter only to switch to different experiences, places and people. Bored guards making sure no one takes any pics and yet surrounded by them.

A very cool, intense experience. If I got to read more about the exhibit beforehand, I’d have experienced it so much better, tho! 🙂

frankfurt and its tattooed inhabitants

frankfurt tattoos

Seems like the author of this article/ slide show doesn’t ride the local U-Bahn as I’m *not* featured in the slideshow! Not really sure whether I should feel relieved or ignored 😉

Indirectly-related to this story, last week a random woman approached me on one of the main U-Bahn stations to ask me where I got my ivy sleeve done only to smoothly switch to complaints how there are no good tattoo artists in Frankfurt am Main. In a small place outisde the city (after all, I use this U-Bahn thing for sth!) a young guy saw my sleeves and asked me for some local shop recommendations. Obviously, tattoos are still a good conversation starter and people badly need some pointers as it’s easier than just doing some research (?)

During my morning runs along the river I seldom get to see tattooed people (or, at least, as heavily tattooed people as me now) but tattoos don’t seem to raise eyebrows around here and no one seems to (mis)judge me only because I look a little unusual. I make sure to smile, say my ‘danke schoen/ bitte/ schoenen Tag’ and do my best to prove that a tattooed/ modified person doesn’t equal any pathology. The lady whom I helped with cleaning her silvers didn’t even want to count them down when I was done. One small success at a time! 😉

I would post some pics taken by me but still no WiFi!

me, me, me – my shin tattoo, session 1

Having completed my calf tattoo in the summer of 2012, I knew it’d be just a question of time to start working on my shin. Since I don’t like different styles of tattoos juxtaposed on the same limb, I knew I’d like to follow my bio-mech idea and get something similar done on my shin.

Not being the best planner ever, I managed to do some research anyway and came up with this very realistic bio-mech idea with some slightly macabre elements involved. In the meantime I also decided to take it a bit further than planned and get the whole piece extended to my knee as a knee tattoo would be great on its own. That was my part of the deal; the rest was in my tattoo artist’s hands.

The appointment was scheduled for July 15. The shop was quiet and quite empty that day – there were only two people working instead of the usual three of them and there weren’t too many people coming in. I didn’t mind it – I wanted some peace, quiet and me-time.

Slawek showed me the pictures he also collected while working on my design – these were the realistic, bio-mech arm pieces but we knew he’d be free-handing my design, so it was just a prop for him, something to start with. I approved and we started.

Image

The first part of the session was as painless as it could be – it was just drawing on my shin and I kept looking at my blank skin slowly being covered with wide strokes of markers, following the contour of my leg muscles and trying to fit my already done calf tattoo. Soon there were lots of purple, red and black lines that looked like a mess but I knew that Slawek’s excellent visual imagination and skills would make it an awesome outline and base for my future tattoo.

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The outline part is never fun for me. The needles always seem sharper and more painful, the pain is more acute and focused. I braced myself for some big pain but it never came. It actually hurt way less than with my calf or ribs or some other tattoos. The problem, however, was that from time to time my leg involuntarily twitched which made the work so much harder for Slawek. As a result, there are a few places where the lines are somewhat uneven but it’s not anything that cannot be fixed later on.

I was scheduled for the whole day, so we managed to finish the outline. My leg wasn’t overly sore and when I woke up the next morning, I was quite happy to see that I didn’t have to hobble around, my shin wasn’t very swollen and didn’t hurt much. Sure, the skin was tender and sore to touch at times but overall it was so much better from what I remembered about my calf tattoo sessions.

I was told that I shouldn’t run during the first week of healing, so I focused on some weight training, core exercises and yoga instead; I took a break from rope jumping as well. Since the healing seemed to be going fine, I added some cycling a few days later, though. I made sure to wash the tattoo with lukewarm water three times a day, pat it dry and apply Bepanthen ointment. A week after the procedure I got back to running although made sure to cover my shin, so I was running in long pants (not that nice when it’s like 20C outside in the morning but it’s better to suck it up and protect a fresh tattoo than to ruin it so early in the healing!). At the end of the week 2 I switched to light body lotion to keep the tattoo well moisturized and it seems to have healed just fine. I’m going to cover it during my runs for another week and then just make sure to apply strong sunblock to protect it.

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The tattoo looks very cool IMO and I can’t wait to add to it!