dinsdag 20 september 2016


AL.D. Scholarship

Al.D. Sowers
Al D. Sowers was passionate about the necessity for sharing knowledge. He believed in order for piercers to be successful, they should be properly educated and education should be industry specific. It was that passion that pushed Al to become one of the first industry specific OSHA blood-borne pathogen instructors in Seattle, where he also began his own piercing seminars. Along with his local teaching, Al helped develop some of the core curriculum that would be presented at the annual APP Conference. Al also played an important role in the early days of body jewelry.

Before he passed away in February of 2001, Al devoted much of his piercing career to the education of piercers. It there for is only fitting this scholarship is named after him.

The scholarship is a funding for approximately 8 piercers, who are in need of financial assistance to attend the APP conference.  Accommodations and conference registration are included in the scholarship. Winners are required to share a room with other recipients and work more than 30 hours during the conference. 

WAUW, is the word that comes in to mind. APP2016, what an adventure and I don't know where to start. I'm so many (first) impressions and experiences richer. 

I always wanted to attend the largest piercing conference of the world, but I considered myself too inexperienced and my studio too small for that (yet!). And lets face it, it isn't right around the corner either. Until I found out about the AL. D. Scholarship.

It all started when I was considering signing up, but still had major doubts. After the support of my family, and with a final push by Shorty, I signed up two days before closing date for the AL. D scholarship. All in good faith, but if I didn't make it, hey, at least I've tried, right? Without giving it much thought, I received an email after a while, saying I made the first round.

OMG, the stress began, that would last a month, waiting to see if I would also make it through the other rounds. And on April 5th 2016, around 1am, I got a Skype call from Caitlin saying: "Do you want to come to Vegas?" I could not believe, this little Dutch chick is going to Vegas!!

After the great news sunk in a little,  stress took over again, 'cause I had never traveled on my own so far. So this and worrying about connecting flights, my husband Lex thought would be very funny if I would call him from Abu Dhabi instead of Vegas. Yes, I would be blond enough to get on the wrong plane.

As the date got closer, a lot of information with instructions and introduction of the others came by email. Information about the tasks, what you need to do, how to handle and where to pay attention to. It was 'homework', which brought me back in doubting myself again. Can I do this, do I get it and traveling alone? Panic and stress!

Friday July 22th, the day of departure. Why did I made so much fuss about?! Everything ran smoothly and reached my destination Hotel Bally's with no problems at all!  I was welcomed by Caitlin, who had my room key. Proud of myself, I fell asleep in my shared hotel room.

The first two days was filled with meetings with the team of volunteers, practicing the tasks and setting up the conference. I really need to say, I tip my hat to the organization. Everything was thought through, everything ran like clockwork and the cooperation between everyone from all over the world was great!

Team Volenteers

The conference officially started on Monday to Friday, but many already signed in on Sunday.
Everyone got a program schedule, with all the information and lists about the given classes and times at the registration desk. This along with a name pass in different color codes, equipped with a QR code and extra ribbons with more recognizable information, like someone came for the first time, whether you're a volunteer, member of the APP, or even if you're into Pokemon Go. Everyone wore these visible around the neck, for everyone to read and to get you scanned for the classroom.

On Monday night was the opening pool party and on Thursday night the banquet, with great food and a show, the lottery and the exchange of Board members.
Brian Skellie & Jeff Saunders (photocredit:Matte Erickson)

Five long days filled with seminars, workshops and lectures and they were all great, given by different mentors and masters we look up to. Everything was divided into various aspects, especially for the piercer, like studio design, client connections, materials, stories and tips from experience, advanced piercing, safe practices, ear projects, trouble-shooting,  advanced stretching and more, much much more!

As of Tuesday, you could visit the "Sailor Sid Archive" and the expo floor, a giant room filled with vendors, including quality jewelry of BVLA's, Industrial Strength, Anatometal, Gorilla Glass, Tawapa, Neometal and many other big names known in the industry. A mecca for many!

It's just so great to see, the gathering of people from all over the world and countries, and all of them have the same passion and purpose, piercing and wanting to know and learn more about it. Whether you've just started to practice as a piercer of a month, or have over 20 years of experience, you are one of them. All friendly, all interested, all open for a chat or a hug. It is thé place to network, make friends and have fun with drinking buddies.
But just by having conversations with others, you will learn new things. It will give you new ideas and you will get new advice. In one week you increase your knowledge and expand your view!

photocredit: Luis Garcia
Photocredit: Luis Garcia
I would like to give a big round of thanks to the APP (Association of Professional Piercers) and in particular the sponsors, who gives you the chance to experience this. But most of all, a big thanks to Caitlin McDiarmid, Mama Duck, for her unbelievable hard work and guiding us 'chicks ', the Al D Scholars and volunteers. 

Now I have seen what goes on behind the scenes, you really appreciate the work, time and love that goes in to it and recognize all this wouldn't be possible without those sweet volunteers and the strength and motivation of Caitlin.

But it's also the caring and looking out for each other, asking if you have enough to eat or drink, or when you have a door shift, willing to get or make you something. The snacks or small rest moment at the office. The high fives when you pass another volunteer in the hall, it's just amazing! The organization, and all for the love for the profession!

Friday afternoon, the conference ended and the cleaning began. Everyone had his own tasks and it went smoothly again. I just had enough time for a quick last dip in the pool, before the last evening began, a dinner with all the volunteers, sponsored by Badur Ramji, to show his appreciation for the hard work all week.

Singing along loud with 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen on the bus ride to Carnival World Buffet at Hotel Rio. Stellar dinner, with some speeches at the end, and farewells and goodbyes.

While waiting outside on the bus that would bring us back to Bally's, I looked at the bright light coming off the famous Vegas strip and the clear sky, and I suddenly realize the week, a miraculous week is over. And now, as I'm writing this, comes back the tears, just like that night, thinking back about the speech that Jacob Spjut gave with his powerful words. I really miss my family and I'd really like to go back in time.

I'm so happy, to have been part of this event. I feel so much richer by meeting you guys and I've made friends for life. I've got a new family now, to share my passion with. 
It really was worth the blisters, swollen feet, the 3 week cold and loss of my voice caused by the airco. But despite the busy schedule, with little time to eat, I was happy with my Bellvitas, Ice Coffee and Advil.

Photocredit: Sarah Wooten
The doubts and stress I had, was really not necessary. It felt like home right from the start and the atmosphere was great. I've never received so many hugs in one week and I really miss everyone. But I hope to be there again next year, as a volunteer.

I'm unbelievable honored to have received the AL.D. Scholarship, and I really CAN recommend this to all fellow colleagues. Whatever you do, you have to try to apply for the AL. D. Scholarship APP 2017. Not only to save costs, but also to experience this, getting richer in all aspects. So, if you want more information, have questions or if you want to know how to sign up, please feel free to contact me, I'm glad to help!

Caitlin McDiarmid, Lawrence Kansas USA
(Mama Duck)/administration APP Organization

This year we dropped in attendees, mostly from the US, because the conference was held mid summer this year. And for many studios it's a to busy to leave or close shop. But we did have an increase in attendees from Europe and other countries.

Jamie Biggers, Santa Rosa California USA. 

Piercer at Electric Monk/AL. D. Scholar/volunteer

This was my first APP conference. Educational classes, great atmosphere and great to see all these people together with the same love for piercing, while I was used to see them as competition. I'm going again next year for sure!

Ken Seyler, Barrie Ontario Canada
Piercer at Matrix Tattoo & Piercing/Volunteer

This was my 5th visit to the conference, and this year it was great and everything went well. Volunteer makes it worth while. I can't think of not being a volunteer here. So I''ll be back again next year!

Greg Tromp, Oranjestad Aruba,
Piercer at Black Sheep Body arts/Attendee

This was my second time. It's great and it was crazy, getting the best experience you can get. Meet many people, learn a lot and bring the theory in practice at home.


Jane Absinth, Düsseldorf Duitsland,
Piercer bij Living Illustrations Tattoo & Piercing Atelier/AL. D. Scholar/volunteer

First time. Inspiring, not only because of the classes, but also by many new ideas and tips by other piercers. Impressed by the professional industry and sharing all the information and experiences. We all sail on the same boat!

Daniel Dye, Brisbane Australia
General manager, Wildcat Australia/Attendee

My first time to the event and I'am hooked! The opportunity to meet and learn from the best of the industry was amazing, and never have I been surrounded by so many like-minded people. I learned so many valuable techniques and met so many amazing people, I will definitely be returning for APP 2017!

Questions about the Al.D.Scholarschip? mail me info@modernbodystudio.nl

-Text and Photo's : Angie
-Photo's : Luis Garcia & Matt Erickson
APP: www.safepiercing.org
-Source Al.D. Sower: the Point magazine ( safepiercing.org)
 Published Tattoo Planet eMagazine 113/september2016

Pool view

Vegas view from plane
Aiden Johnson

Drinking buddy's

Int Meeting class

Mr Skellie ( photocredit: M.Erickson)

Shorty on podium


Elayne Angel


Anthony Watts

Anthony & Jamie

 -Maree Fowler & Nicole Holmes


Jose Carlos

Caitlin McDiarmid

Chadwick Jackson

John Robberson

Juan Manuel Mora 
Morning kiss from Jezzy Vee

Monica Sabin

Cody Vaughn

Andre Nalin

Badur Ramji
Jane Absinth

Club Tattoo with Loreia & Jezzy vee

Jeff Saunders
Jim Ward
Volenteer family