donderdag 3 augustus 2017

AL.D. Scholarship/ APP17

The Association of Professional Piercers
Conference 2017
Bally's, Las Vegas.

First time attendee as an Al D. scholar.
By Cas Willems

It all started way before the actual conference:

I've always known the APP existed and held a great admiration for them and a will to join them, but being [just] a piercer from Europe and even from the Netherlands, I couldn't imagine having contact with anyone from the APP let alone going to conference.

The reason that I applied for the Al D. scholarship is that I had a tough time the last couple of years.
The studio I worked at went bankrupt in 6 weeks time, leaving me, my girlfriend and our 3 month old daughter with nothing to fall back on and a grim outlook on our future.
It took everything we had to open our own studio at the same location in the same time, 6 weeks.
It was a classic sink or swim moment and our lives changed so much in that short period of time.
I will not go into all the details but it was a rough ride being a fresh father and fresh studio owner and being responsible for so much more than just me alone.

This however was and is the biggest drive for me to succeed and look forward in life, not only on a professional level as a piercer and studio owner but also on a personal level as a father, husband to-be and general better person.

Now this is where I leave all my insecurities, anxieties and fears.

After seeing a fellow piercer from the Netherlands, Angie van Dijken from Modern Body Studio Angie, get picked for an Al D. scholarship and go to conference in 2016, it became clear to me that this was within the realm of possibilities and was well worth taking the plunge for and apply for the scholarship.

Every step of the process was quite nerve wrecking seeing as (from my perspective) the APP is a piercer's holy grail and I did not want to f*ck anything up.

My girlfriend was my greatest motivation in this experience and she supported me all the way.

We started filming my introduction video for the application and I can still remember that we started over a couple of times because I was drawing blanks the entire time.
After having sent in everything and getting the delivery notice in my mailbox, the waiting begun.

I was on a well deserved ski trip in Austria with my family and in-laws when I received a mail from Ryan saying that I was picked as one of the Al D. scholars for 2017.
Later Caitlin personally called me to make sure I got the good news.

How little did I know what was ahead of me..

After having a 24 hour trip from my house to Bally's Casino in Las Vegas, I have finally arrived.
IT WAS WARM, even in the evening, DRY. WARMTH. But hey, I'm in the Mojave desert, what did I expect?

First impression: HOLY BALLS, 'Murica.
Everything is bigger there, the roads, the cars, the buildings, the people, the drinks, everything!
I walked in Bally's expecting nothing but to be given a sensory overload that would last for quite some time: sounds and lights coming from all directions, people smoking and drinking inside and little did I know that this would continue 24/7.

I went to the 26th floor of the hotel, to the suite of Caitlin and entered when there was a volunteer meeting happening, instantly stepping into a room full of people which later would become family.
Very weird to think about that now, afterwards, how quickly mere strangers become so much more than that in just a weeks time.

Seeing as I was early to conference, I got appointed a room with David Kelso and that first night was the worst. NOT because of David, he's a sweetheart, he ate his chips one by one really quiet to let me sleep. But because of the fact that this was my first down time and things were setting in: I was missing my family SO much it hurt, I realized I wasn't on my way to anything anymore: I arrived and I was all alone. That took me by surprise, kicked in a whole new set of fears and anxieties and I couldn't sleep for a minute.

First day, I couldn't wait to do stuff!
And we did, there was a lot of training, meetings and more training, but first everything needed to be unpacked from pallets.
We started to build our base for conference on which we would build our battle plans, or so it felt.
A whole lot needed to be sorted and set up and me and the other Al D's helped out on given tasks and where we could generally help out.
It is great given the chance to build everything from the ground up, it really builds a deeper connection to the conference and all the people volunteering.
At the moment it was all new and overwhelming but now I can say, then it was actually pretty quiet.

The first day of conference was a different site: a TON of piercers, peers and people involved in the industry had arrived, registered for conference and were excited to see everything, learn, mingle and talk to each other.

The first meeting was the Mentor Program in the Bronze rooms and there it opened my eyes to how many people were there to begin with. I saw the rooms I've always seen on social media and pictures of conferences of years before, only now I was there, right in the middle.
But what I really liked is that everyone there was like minded, and they got people talking to each other, mingling, introducing each other and bonding, that was a cool experience.

I got appointed a mentor, but actually didn't need one because every single one of the volunteers and Al D's helped out SO much, it is beyond words.
I did not expect people to be so helpful, generous, social and generally nice.
Every one of the supers, mentors and volunteers took us Al D's under their wings and always took care of us, they were watching us and very righteous so.
It is very easy to loose your way when in Vegas and at conference, so many things are going on, so many people, so much information and so much to process. You tend to forget to eat, drink, sleep and enjoy your time. But the first three are important and NOT to be forgotten.

You're still in a desert so drinking 3 times as much as normal is a bare minimum.
You're at conference and busy as can be so eating can be forgotten but passing out is never a good option, same goes for sleeping, you're at conference and you might want to talk to everyone and be everywhere at the same time but sometimes choosing your physical and mental health and sleep is the best way to go. Personal care is key and people will remind you of that every day, always.

I've met a TON of people, piercers, suppliers, vendors and lots of connections were made.
Talking about vendors, don't get me started about the expo.
Doesn't sound very exciting does it? Some vendors, some jewellery, no big deal, right?

All the big names of the industry were well represented there, bringing tons of jewellery and showing of new designs, having bargains and actually standing there in person representing their brand.
It was way impressive seeing all of the suppliers we are carrying and are hoping to carry in the future, with literally tons of jewellery, my heart skipped so many beats, my wallet took a beating and I was drooling all over the place. Honestly, you can't put that experience to words, you have to actually be there and see it for yourself, it makes quite an impression.

What I also liked was not only the availability of classes about piercings, but about owning a studio, setting up a retirement plan, working with tattooers and all kinds of things I really did not think of.
Which makes it even clearer for me that the piercing industry in America is way more of a serious business than it is in the Netherlands. Which gave me all the right motivation to create that feeling here too.

The talks and round tables were awesome also, it was general discussion about certain topics related to the industry, so not just sitting and absorbing information but actually being a part of the discussion and having the possibility to have a say in that, which is great for anyone.

The ATTB's (alternative to the bar) were great also, gamenight, movienight and Brian's hourly long talks about statims. It gave a great alternative for people who didn't have the need to hang out at the bar, which serves way too overpriced drinks by the way.

Which brings me to the best bet in vegas: the APP raffle!
The best way to spend money, chances to win some great prizes and with that sponsoring the APP.
All and all, no one loses! And it actually works, because I was fortunate enough to win prizes twice, which is very helpful in me coming back next year.
The tickets to the biggest prizes are drawn at the banquet diner, which is an event on it's own.

The banquet diner, is the biggest and fanciest diner party and get together of piercers I have ever experienced.
People dress up fancy or in theme with the 90's and both were awesome to see, people really put in an effort.
There were great speeches with many thanks to everyone who put the conference together and this all under the curtain of 90's music, drinks and dance. All and all a time to have some proper food, unwind and relax.

I can honestly go on for ages, but I would like to conclude this with showing my gratitude to everyone for making this experience real for me.
I am humbled and honoured to not only visit conference but to actually have been a part of conference and have been made a member of the family, it is beyond words to describe how it feels, it is actually like finding a home after being lost for so many years.
I can encourage every piercer, from anywhere in the world, from apprentice to well experienced studio owner to at least visited APP conference for once in their lives, your career would not be complete without it.
It is an experience that will not only change your way of working, it will change your ways of seeing our entire industry and the awesome people who made up our industry and are still building it to this day.

It gave me so many new insights in new techniques, new ways of working, new designs of tools and jewellery, making new connections with peers and suppliers and discovering a new side of myself, being more in connection with the piercer self. It gave me heaps of motivation and a fresh look on things I would not have found anywhere else.

I was so scared from the first moment I decided to go for this, but I came out the end so much stronger it is hard to put in words.

“Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy. Remember that.”

-Nicholas Sparks

Thank you for everyone who made this possible, the list is endless but I have to thank one person by name and it is a woman I will not soon forget about, she is the backbone of conference and the backbone of the entire volunteer family and so much more: mama duck: Caitlin.
We all love, cherish and respect you for the loads of work you did and still do to this day!
Thank you for your guidance!

I am proud to say that I am a duckling for life!


Text and photos: Cas Willems
-Published Tattoo Planet emagazine 125/se

maandag 31 juli 2017


This Juli I got an email that I was selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 75 Body piercing Blogs on the web.
Very honoured Iam :)
#11 !
Thank you Anuj and team Feedspot

Interview Ferry Scharn

Name: Ferry Scharn, owner of Le Sting Piercings in Utrecht (NL)

Can you describe yourself in one sentence?
I am very patient and love a friendly approach.

How long have you been piercer?
Just one year. I opened my studio at the end of March 2016.

Why this profession?
Due to circumstances I could no longer perform my work as a teacher and was looking for something where I could continue as my own boss. My wife had just opened up a tattoo shop with a friend and said that they could use a piercer. Never realized to be a piercer  but this was a chance I took with both hands. I've always had great affinity with piercings. I used to have a number of piercings in my teen years. I was even pointed at on the street because I had a eyebrow piercing. Now I have some piercings but  I notice it isn't convenient with sport and wearing a helmet, or playing with my children, so I keep with what I have. Maybe I became a piercer in a diffrent way then others, but I do not miss to passion when it comes to piercings.
How or from whom did you learned the skills?Asking near shops  for an apprenticeship. (If you are a piercer, reading this then you know how those requests go haha). Shops don't give away apprenticeships, mostly they know you as friend before they even take you as a pupil. After a long search I found someone who wanted to educate me. Someone with 20 years of experience and we hit it off well. After the apprenticeship we still keep in touch and I can still ask questions.

What was your first piercing?
I have used to studied animal care so I actually think that my first piercing was an ear tag on a little calf, haha. But on people; a helix.

Who or what inspires you?
People of the APP,  everyone with knowledge, patience and kindness.
People like Brian Skellie and Luis Garcia.

Can you  tell something about your studio/workplace?
I have my own shop in the tattoo studio "The Ink Society". I rent an enclosed area and I'm my  own boss. We are in the Centre of Utrecht.
The shop is large, bright and open. Customers feel at ease immediately.

What type of piercing do you prefer?
No preference. A helix gets  as much attention as any other piercing. Although secretly I like doing dermals and surface piercings.

What is the best piece of advice you ever got when you started out and think it would help other starters in this industry?
Don't do piercings when you feel uncomfortable. Customer is King, but you decide.
And forever learning.

You have a nice or weird  experience you'd like to share?

A 75 year old man came in for a hafada ladder with 3 barbells,  now he's saving up for 3 more haha. All the power to him. So nice to see that it is no age range. (over 18 years of course).

Does your work  involve more than just piercing?
I'm my own boss and run the piercing area self. I also do orders, administration etc etc.
In addition, I help the tattoo studio with their orders and help customers who come in.

How do you see yourself in 5 years?
I want to learn learn learn even more .... like I said: forever learning. Learn new techniques.
Possible a high end shop, perhaps even APP member. Who knows.
I would also like eventually to learn branding and scarifications.

Do you have a tip or do you want to add something to this interview?
It amazes me that so many piercers give different aftercare advice,
of soaps, ointments, or nothing at all,  cleaning with own urine.
Hello!!! Really .... With your own urine???
Well, I love it but sterile saline (saline).

Thank you so much for this interview.

Pictures and answers: Ferry Scharn
-Published Tattoo Planet eMagazine 122/June 2017

donderdag 29 juni 2017

Tribute to Jim Ward

The granddaddy of the modern body piercing movement. 

June 28th was international Piercingday, the birthday of Jim Ward.

A big name in the piercing industry, one of the pioneers in the body piercing history and founder of the "Gauntlet" the first American Piercing only studio in 1975.

Mid 60's he got training in jewelry making and manufacture and came into contact with piercings, by experimenting with piercings and finding/making the right materials, shapes and techniques together with Doug Malloy.
He is the founder of the basic techniques and instruments, which we now still use in the modern piercing.
He designed many jewelry for piercing as the bead ring and improved the barbells.

Must read for piercers!
Running the Gauntlet, written by Jim Ward about the history of the modern body piercing movement.

In 2016 I had the honour to met this man, also his partner Drew. A high point in my career!

A interview/story behind a known piercer of this man will be on this blog soon for you to read!

Published Tattoo Planet eMagazine 123 Juli 2017

Italian Suscon registration is open



dates for the 13° Italian Suscon finally available.
We invite all the Body Suspension community to come and joing us. 
You are welcome! ;-) 

Here you could find all our past events

Organized by APTPI-ST 
(Italian Associatoon of Professional Piercers and Tattooist Suspension Team)

for info, feel free to contact

vrijdag 19 mei 2017

Interview Charlotte

Name: Charlotte, piercer bij DaRocks Almere (NL)

Can you describe yourself in one sentence?
Spontaneous, caring, perfectionist
Always try to be positive and have a sharp tongue.

How long have you been piercer?

Four years

Why this profession?
I like the interaction with the customers .
Especially fun to see how happy people can get after a new Piercing.
Sales of jewelry making sure people get the correct piece of jewelry.
Beeing creative with making other jewelry such as necklaces, rings, and earrings.

How or from whom did you learned the skills?
By much research and practice under the supervision of an experienced piercer.
And never stop learning.

What was your first piercing?
A helix piercing, when I think back on how the needle went back and forth, I laugh.I was so very very nervous

Who or what inspires you?Many American piercers who have followed master classes, for example app members.

Can you tell something about your studio/workspace?We are a cosy studio with a small, close team.
We are easily accessible, very focused on customers. Every tattoo artist has it's own style, from realism to black &grey to color etc.

What type of piercing do you prefer?
I prefer nipple or navelpiercings. Because each nipple and navel are different. It is always a challenge.

What is the best piece of advice you ever got when you started out and think it would help other starters in this industry?
You have to approach each customer as new, everyone is different. Always be open and be honest.
If you do not trust something or doubt don't do it. Make sure you learn it from someone who already has a lot of piercing experience. Anyone can make a hole, but not everyone makes a good piercing.

Do you have a nice or weird experience as a piercer you'd like to share with us?
Over the years I built up a lot of regular customers, and even with some friendships.

Does your work involve more than just piercing?
Yes, in my spare time I help the tattoo artists with the ins and outs of the studio, appointments, help people at the desk, which I really like.

How do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years I would want to sell more quality jewelry,  grown more with my skills. H
ope I am still healthy and happy.

Photos and answers: Charlotte
-Published Tattoo Planet eMagazine 121/may 2017

Tongue Experience

Tongue piercings have been popular among young and old for years.
Some thinking it thoroughly through for years before getting it others get it in a spontaneous moment.

Tongue piercings are one of the few where you can see a huge variation in perception, healing and experience. 
 The tongue piercing is for everyone different, with this piercing you may notice difference in healing, reaction, even lengths in barbell can be variable

Because your tongue is a muscle and not skin, means it can have a pretty swell the first few days. That's why we put in an extra longer barbell so that the tongue has room to swell, after about two weeks, you can switch the barbell for a shorter one.

To give you an idea about the different experiences I interviewed six customers with the same questions.

Anouk Lorier
Anouk Lorier  
Has her tongue piercing now for five weeks

Did you thought about it long before getting a tongue piercing?
No not really. I thought to myself that I wanted one, when I called the studio I could come in the next day.

How was your experience in getting the piercing?
I was a bit nervous. It did hurt! She was very friendly explained the procedure so there were no surprises. It went fine

What was your experience after the procedure?

After the tongue piercing it was fine, but the days after I had to work and talk much. My tongue was so thick that it was even bleeding and the barbell basically got too small. I was really in much pain. I could barely eat and speak. It was no party.

Fortunately, after a week it was all much less. In between I did lots of rinsing and chilled with ice. This helped alot, happy though. If I didn't do this, it would have swollen more.

How was it after the downsize?
The barbell that I got after the downsize hurt a lot. I think the wound wasn't quite yet closed, and pushed the barbell on the wound. I think the barbell was too small so I've bought a bigger one, and the pain was gone.

Do you have fun moments with your tongue piercing?
If you  eat cheese or spaghetti it remains behind. But above all I could not say the R so you heard it very well that my pronunciation was different. people found this especially funny.


Denise Simons
Denise Simons
Has her tongue piercing since June 2016

Did you thought about it long before getting a tongue piercing? 
I've actually always wanted one, only I never had the nerve to take the step, also because my teeth was skewed. I start to restore my teeth in 2015. When I saw the give away to win a free piercing I respond and I won! Then, I was just in shock haha. Now it's really happening! (if I can convince my husband haha).

How was your experience in getting the piercing? 
I was excited despite the nerves, my friend went along and even filmed. It did absolutely not hurt at all and was done before I knew it.

What was your experience after the procedure? 
On the day of the piercing I had to get used to eating, and was not yet really bothered by the swelling. water ice creams they helped though. The day after it was pretty swollen and I went a bit partially. Also I suffered from a kind of muscle pain in my tongue what I found quite annoying, especially together with food and talking. After a day or three I could eat easier. I eat everything except biscuits and chips because that was really awkward.

How was it after the downsize? 
After the first downsize, it turned out the barbell was too small so I exchanged it again for a slightly larger. Never had problems after, if you can call this a problem.

Now, almost a year I am still very happy with it!! 

Do you have fun moments with your tongue piercing? 
When I just got my piercing, my youngest daughter told everyone to who (not) wanted to hear that mom has an earring in her tongue haha. Fortunately that fase quickly passed ...

Furthermore, actually no weird/funny things experienced yet. A toffee sticks alot.
what I like about it? 
Just that I have one, after all these years never thought it would happen


Michella Hakhof
Michella Hakhof
Got her first Tongue piercing 13 years ago, second one 4 months ago

Did you thought about it long before getting a tongue piercing?

No I was16 years old when I got my first tongue piercing, my friends had one, so I wanted one too. Since then I like piercings. and when I saw someone with a second tongue piercing, (really loved that) , and wanted a second one too

How was your experience in getting the piercing? 
For my second piercing, I was not nervous. I was well received and talked through the papers and while sitting in the chair she explained every step of the procedure and that was helpful everything went smoothly, hurt a little but my pain tolerance is pretty high.

What was your experience after the procedure? 
after the procedure I had to stay put as a precaution to be sure I was at ease, before getting up. not that I would be woozy or such, she was very caring. My tongue was somewhat swollen and felt stiff especially the day after. I  eaten  delicious water ice creams and brushed my teeth and rinsed

I partially talked a bit different but had no lisp, it was gone after 3 days.

How was it after the downsize? 
Got it downsized after 1 week and had no further problems, and I am still super happy with it.

Do you have fun moments with your tongue piercing? 
My first fried noodles and spaghetti dinner with a tongue piercing was amusing they just kept sticking and hanging behind  the piercing, also soft ice cream you see  exactly the imprint in the ice cream from the swab.I love the piercings.  Piercings are fun it is bodyart and I love it and have several piercings. It's part of my personality


Christianne Westdorp

Has her tongue piercing since juli 2016, but took it out for a while to clean, and it closed. So I had it repierced in Januari 2017 so together I have one for 9 months now.

Did you thought about it long before getting a tongue piercing? 
About 6 months

How was your experience in getting the piercing?

I was very nervous, was gonna be my first piercing ever, didn't know what to expect and I am scared of needles.
Christianne Westdorp
The pain was more then I expected, I have read that Tongue piercings was the least painfull, but I found it very painfull. One of the reasons I skipped my plan to get my bellybutton pierced. If my tongue piercing was that painfull, I don't want to find out how painfull my bellybutton would be.

What was your experience after the procedure? 
The first time the swelling started very fast after the procedure. And I could not eat normal the first two weeks. Took lots of water ice creams and the swelling decreased after a week but still could not eat normal. I cut my meat in extra small pieces and put it as far as possible in my mouth between my teeth . in those two weeks I also had a lisp. So much that I wanted to talk as little as possible.
The second time my tongue swelled again very much could not eat after two days. I eaten water ice and then after two weeks my tongue was back to normal shape.

How was it after the downsize? After the exchange of the first I could finally eat normally again, had no further problems until I wanted to get it out to clean it up when my hole closed within 2 days,  so had to repierce it again. after the exchange of the 2nd, I haven't had any problems.

Do you have fun moments with your tongue piercing? 
No I do not have experienced funny things with my tongue piercing.
Though I sometimes bite on it while eating. I find a tongue piercing really nice and the great thing is that it is not too noticeable. If you speak certain words or even sing Yes than you see it but otherwise not so much. Not enough to scare people away


Dion Bukkens
almost a year a tongue piercing
Dion Bukkens

Did you thought about it long before getting a tongue piercing?
Yes and no- on a random day actually decided I wanted one, but it still took some months before I really got one.

How was your experience in getting the piercing? 
I was very nervous. Your tongue is of course a muscle and that is quite a bit different than the other piercings I got. Obviously it was not very tasty, all that had more to do with the fact that I have a very short tongue that I involuntarily pulled it back. little struggle with my tong getting the clamps  secured, fortunately didn't took long and soon I was standing outside.

What was your experience after the procedure?Initially it went well, but my tongue swelled so bad that it was against my uvula and  continuouslyI got sick for two, three days. I thought it would help by getting a longer barbell, and that was my biggest mistake. Because the longer barbell was too long, it moved all over the place. I could no longer talk, eat or swallow, everything hurt too much and I was seriously sick of it. In the end, I decided to switch the barbell back myself and see if I could get the shorter one back in, if not, then no more piercing. At the time, it felt so much better! I could almost immediately do everything again, and it was less painfull. I did had some lisp and it was sensitive, but after the first week it was gone. Find out too late that icecream do helps, I'd actually should started earlier with that.

How was it after the downsize? 
I switched lengths of the barbell two times. I have a very short and thin tongue. Now I have a 12 mm bioplex barbell in. The shorter the barbell, the less burden I have, but also the less I play with it. I hardly notice it now.  I have chosen for bioplex instead of titanium because sometimes it started to irritate and this helps for me.

Despite that first week, I is worth it. Have no regret.

Do you have fun moments with your tongue piercing? 
It's not always practical with eating ice creams: specially with soft ice cream.  Also Spaghetti can be very tricky, and when taking medication. And now I am really a magnet for hair in my mouth, keeps getting stuck around it.
I like it best when people talk about certain types of piercings finding them raunchy, at those moments I stick my tongue out. The faces that they make are brilliant. It also seems to have some extras when you kiss someone,but haven't noticed that. It gives me  a kind of boost and I find beautiful!

Brodie Clayton

Brodie Clayton
Tongue piercing since April 7th 2017

Did you thought about it long before getting a tongue piercing?
I had thought about it for 2 weeks before I got it done first I did research on what to expect.

How was your experience in getting the piercing? I was very nervous, the piercing itself hurt a lot but I think i had tensed my tongue up so it hurt more, I could laugh afterwards though with my funny speech.

What was your experience after the procedure? 
I experienced pain mostly in the mornings for 5 days I would take tablets to stop the pain which worked great I could eat solid foods the day after I had my piercing, it still hurt but I was able to do it. Swelling wasn't really bad as I could still see the bar. All in the experience wasn't too bad for me personally.

How was it after the downsize? 
I find it so much easier to eat and talk half the time i forget it's there! I feel better now it's smaller.

Do you have fun moments with your tongue piercing? 
The benefits I have from it is that I feel my tongue looks very pretty it's fun to stick my tongue out and have a pretty piercing there! I had a little accident where I somehow managed to get my tongue bar caught on my lip ring which made me look really stupid until i could untangle it!

-Text and photo's :Angie
Special thanks to Anouk Lorier, Denise Simons, Michella Hakhof, Christianne Westdorp, Dion Bukkens and Brodie Clayton for their cooperation and time
-Published Tattoo Planet eMagazine 121/may2017