Body Art in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

December 12, 2009

The female Jedi of  Star Wars really kick ass.

While watching a recent episode of Star Wars The Clone Wars, I was struck by the abundant body art on many of the characters.  It  had me speculating on the origin and significance.

I don’t know if there is a formal ideology or more explanation for the art; but I wouldn’t be surprised–perhaps someone nerdier than me can tell me.  I can tell you that several of the characters bear obvious tattoos,  brands, body paint, or similar graphic symbols on their skin. Maybe the animators just enjoy drawing them that way.    (Yes, I do realize these are just cartoon characters.).

Barriss Offee

Sparkling like Diamonds

Diamond shaped tattoos seem to be a theme.  Barriss Offee and her mentor, Luminara Unduli, have what appear to be tribal tattoos. (There are good pics of Ashoka Tano and Luminara Unduli on this page.) Barriss has a scattering of diamond-shaped markings across her face and her hands, and Master Unduli has facial markings on her chin similar to a Maori moko. (Moko @ Wikipedia).

Ashoka Tano

Obi-Wan’s padawan, Ahsoka Tano, has very interesting facial markings, but it is unclear to me exactly what they are.  Are they organic, similar to tiger stripes?  Perhaps they are white body paint, or battle paint, but they seem to be inherent.  I wonder if that blue striped and green coiffure is cosmetic or hair or an appendage or what.  She seems to be of the long appendagy-type people like Jabbas’ lieutenant, who appeared to have filed his teeth.  (You can tell this post is really well researched, eh?)  Whether the white markings on the cheeks, above the eyes, and on the forehead are painted on or not, they are very striking.

There are other examples of this predilection for body art in the Star Wars franchse.  In the episode  I saw recently, in which Ahsoka and Barriss try to penetrate a droid factory, at least one of the male characters had a forehead marking (a brand?). Come to think of it, Princess Amidala was fond of elaborate geisha-like makeup with a ritualized markings.  And then there are the markings and horns on Darth Maul.  I haven’t seen any piercings yet on the denizens of that galaxy, but they may be out there.

My poor drawings do not do these much more talented animators justice, so be sure to check out what these characters really look like by going to the official Star Wars site. You can watch episodes of The Clone wars and see for yourself.   You’ll notice that one of the header pictures on this link is of a female character with spiral dot tattoos on her shoulder.

All these dots and diamonds remind me of these awesome dot tattoos I found on Flickr. Dotwork Tattoos by Damian. I’d say there’s a convergence between art and life!

Image above from Crave. Drawings belong to me.  Star Wars and Clone Wars belong to George Lucas.

fin

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Piercing the Cloud

November 10, 2009

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Am sick at home today and messing around, so I decided to make a little pierced cloud.  I think it came out nice.  That’s a Anatometal fixed bead ring, if memory serves me, which I wore for a while in my navel piercing.

I used it as my avatar in the BodyArtForms forums.  Appropriate, since they are retailers of Anatometal body jewelry.  Anatometal is a premium body jewelry company which makes awesome jewelry–soooo finely done and polished!  I own quite a few of their pieces.

I just joined the BodyArtForms forums, and the first response I got was from a moderator–“don’t revive old threads.”  I guess they wanted me to start a whole new thread to test my avatar, dunno.  Not a very warm welcome, but I guess I can overlook it.  I’ve run afoul of forum “unwritten rules” before, and I bet you have too.

Take a look at the Anatometal site. And here’s a link to the BAF discussion forums.


Nipple Piercings and the Long Haul

September 6, 2009

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As I said in the last post, nipple piercings are great all around body piercings.  (Note:  this is “part 2”– see previous post for more general info.) True to the old piercing adage, “If It Protrudes, Pierce It,” they stick out, are conveniently located for admiration and play, enhance sensuality and sensation–what’s not to like? But:

  • Nipples are slow and fussy healers. They take a long time to heal, and are prone to flare ups and crusties,even years after being pierced.

Nipples, navels, and cartilage piercings are probably the ones that take longest to heal.  Out of these, nipple piercings  seem to be the ones that really act up for the longest time.  Nipples are constantly changing shape; swelling, erecting, and relaxing with changes in temperature and arousal. This puts stress on a fresh wound with a foreign object in it.   Nipples reflect what is going on in the body and react to hormones, menstrual cycles, and health.  So perhaps it’s no wonder that the healing process can seem to go on forever.

With nipple piercings, you may experience:

–Healing to take a year or more; with the third stage of healing (toughening) to take a few more years.  (Review the stages of healing here.)

–Crusties possibly throughout the life of your piercing, apparently healed or not.  (“Crusties” are dried lymph and dead skill cells exuded by a healing piercing, which dry sharp and crusty on your jewelry.)

–Regular flare ups with menstrual cycles; and flare ups related to stress or illness.

–Frustration because they shouldn’t be played with during healing; or even relationship problems.  (Whose boobs are they?)  Healing nipple piercings should not come into contact with bodily fluids, lest they become infected.  Review how to have safer sex with piercings here.

The Bling Problem

Here’s another tip:  Nipple piercings don’t really like jewelry changes. The flesh tube in a nipple seems to be especially delicate in comparison with some other piercings, and reacts negatively to rough handling, excessive movement, and removal and insertion of jewelry.  Externally threaded jewelry (which has sharp threads being pushed through the piercing) is never a good idea in nipples.  Furthermore, jewelry tends to sit tightly in the flesh tube, which can shrink rapidly upon removal.  If you are planning to change your own jewelry, an appropriate taper and lube are advised.

I cannot tell you how many sob stories I have heard about nipples rejecting, migrating, or simply being too sore and fussy for comfort.  It’s really a shame, because healed nipple piercings are a treasure.  An abandoned nipple piercing is a sad, sad thing! In my opinion, most of these problems can be traced to improper jewelry considerations:  Wrong size, wrong material, or simply changing too often or too soon.

I hear stories about guys who take jewelry out of their fresh nipple piercings daily for soccer practice, and then they wonder why they won’t heal.  I recently saw a post about  pretty new nipple jewelry, with a picture of some very small diameter rings with gems.  Pretty indeed, but these were only 6-week old piercings, the diameter of the ring looked too small to me for comfort, and the jewelry itself did not look like good quality.  I predict an unhappy experience for this lady who may have sacrificed her lovely piercings to impatience.  Therefore:

Clouds #1 tip for happy nipple piercings is:

Make sure you have a well-fitting, premium quality piece of body jewelry in your new nipple piercing, preferably a straight titanium barbell, and leave it there for at least a year!

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Although I wear premium stainless steel barbells in mine, many of my friends report that switching to titanium has eliminated crusties and helped calm their piercings down overall.   By well-fitting, I mean that a ring’s diameter should be large enough for the part that passes through the nipple to be almost straight; or that a barbell should fit with just a little bit clearance on either side of the nipple, and the balls should not be pushed into the flesh tunnel or otherwise create a problem.  Sometimes adjustments need to be made after being pierced, so a visit back to your piercer may be in order.  As always in piercing, one size does NOT fit all, so a good piercer can order individual bars or balls to suit your anatomy.  But once you have a nice piece in there, leave it alone!

Patience with this piercing is critical.  This does present a problem for those of us eyeing those cool nipple shields or  pretty dangly/sparkly  nipple jewelry.  As always we are tempted, but we must resist!  Do not change jewelry for at least one year, and maybe more if you continue to experience unhappy nipples.  Realize that most of this type of jewelry is not meant for long-term wear, only “special occasion” wear.  And refer to the above “nipples don’t like jewelry changes.”

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Some more details to consider:

Male nipples are smaller, and may take less time to heal than female nipples. Male nipples are usually pierced into the areola.

–There are a lot of variables in size and shape, particularly in female breasts (for which there are a lot of thankful people out there); but this needs to be considered.  There’s no reason that really big breasts or big nipples; or conversely, really small nipples can’t be pierced, as long as, as Elayne Angel says, they are pliable and can be pinched up.

–You can breastfeed with pierced nipples, although for safety’s sake, usually the jewelry must be removed. You must also remove all jewelry for a mammogram.

Sea salt soaks can be a boon to pissy nipples–long flesh tunnels can trap hair, dead skin, and other debris that can be drawn out with salt soaks.  Frequent crusties must be soaked and cleaned off–frequently!

–One of the more serious consequences of a piercing gone wrong is an infection in the tissue of the female breast.  If you suspect an infection which is not responding to soaks or lasts more than a week or two, see a medical professional immediately.

–Although not as prominent as you may think, the jewelry can show through clothing, especially with thin, light colored clothing and large jewelry.  If this is a concern, minimize the profile of your jewelry as much as you can without compromising fit or healing (e.g., choose smaller balls),  pad your clothing with layers or padded bras/inserts, and break up the effect by wearing dark clothing/patterns.  And if your boss is staring at your nipples at work, you need to get a new job anyway!

–Nipple piercings may not be compatible with active sports or some lifestyles.  We  piercees couldn’t much help the guy who had to wear body armor for work, for example.  Some women swear by tight-fitting sports bras for support during the healing period (although I prefer no bras and no pressure on the piercing).

–Pierced nipples can “develop,” that is, grow larger in response to being pierced.  Not only does the insertion of the jewelry raise the profile, but the nipple can actually grow.  Although it’s not true that pierced nipples are always erect, they can become more prominent permanently, but how much is impossible to predict.  This seems to be a concern especially for men.

–For technical details on placement and sizing of jewelry, consult a good piercer or the The Piercing Bible, by Elayne Angel, as always (and all this stuff is in there anyway, so where’s your copy?)

So, is all this worth it?

Oh, Yes!  Yes,  yes!,  . . . well, you get the idea.  A well healed, perfectly placed nipple piercing is a thing of beauty, a joy to touch, and a source of potentially life-long pleasure. Pierced in a suitably sturdy gauge and well-toughened, they can withstand a good deal of rough play.  It is discrete and a perfect piercing for older or professional piercees.  It is well worth the extra care and patience to heal!

If you are interested, my 8-month old  nipple piercing (described here) is still in the second stage of healing, I think.  Although it is doing well, it is still sore occasionally, and benefits from intermittent soaking. My vertical nipple piercing, which is about (thinks) 5 years old has never given me any problem, has toughened up nicely, and has made my nipple very happy!

What are  you waiting for? Find a good piercer and do it!

fin

The copper nipple pictured above is from Ctd 2005’s photostream at Flickr.

Stock jewelry pics are from Steel Navel, with permission.


Just an old-fashioned ramble

May 1, 2009

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In lieu of an actual, well-thought out post (or a love song) here are some odds and ends.

Oh, CSI last night . . . body modification takes another hit.  Expect a full post on this one, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

I see Jared from One Tribe is back from his trip to Indonesia, because he’s commented.  Take a look especially at his comment on the Making Body Jewelry post, in which he talks about the company that was featured, the question of fair trade jewelry, and jewelry ethics.    I expect some great blog posts over at One Tribe, as well as some fantastic jewelry from him, as always.  Jared also posted that they are planning to open an implant grade only, piercing studio. Woo!

More blogs: Marisa from Needled has started a new tattoo blog, Needles & Sins. I don’t know what happened there, but all I can say is I wish I had a stable of contributors!  I also have come across some more body modification blogs, like this one: Multi-Colored, which has some thoughtful content, and this one, ToddBlog, which is pretty new, and doesn’t seem to have an About page yet, but might be worth checking out.

I just ran across a comment on another blog post (Absurd Body Piercings) which has me shaking my head:

I think a vaginal piercing says something negative about you. Cough cough, you’re a slut, cough. Guys are different, though. If you want your dick pierced it’s alright, but a vaginal piercing isn’t cool. It’s just the way it is. Anyone who disagrees, that’s fine. It’s my opinion!

Well, it may be your opinion, honey, but it’s an ignorant one.  Talk about a double standard!

Remember the unfortunate tattoo I highlighted in my post on Bellydancers and Body Art? Well, word finally got around to the dancer in question and she made a comment that she was embarrassed by my post.  I don’t blame her, really, since my language was pretty strong.  I wish to reiterate that this was my personal reaction and opinion, and that my intent was not to belittle her, but to point out that it’s a good idea for everyone, and especially for public figures and performers, to consider how their tattoos look to others, and from a distance.

That’s enough for now.  Let me just say that recovering from abdominal surgery Is.Not.Fun.  Although I think I’m doing okay, at 3 weeks plus now, I’m dealing with a host of minor but unpleasant, and personal symptoms.  I’d like to blame my not posting on this, but I’m really just a lazy slug.  Plus, I wanted to leave the interview with Angel about The Piercing Bible up for a while.  I hope you’ve all bought your copies!

Pic is my kitty Ivan’s nether regions.  He thinks he’s hiding.


Taboo

April 6, 2009

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Is it taboo? Or is it just . .

Body modification?

“Over the ages, people have squeezed, stretched, and even mutilated themselves for their cultural group.”  National Geographic’s series, “Taboo” is, I think, in it’s third season.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s definitely worth a look.  The series covers all sorts of extreme practices including, of course, body art.  Here is National Geographic’s main page on the show, and here’s a sample:


The latest episode, “Bizarre Bodies” highlights individuals who are extreme body art collectors and artists, including a man who is having the whites of his eyeballs tattooed (pictured above), a young girl getting horns in her forehead, and the art of extreme corsetry.  I was very interested in the scenes where the newly modded people showed their family members their new art.    The young girl with the horns showed her dad, who was very disapproving.  “You just hurt yourself again.”  The guy with the eye tattoing went home to show his wife and mother-in-law, who were interested, if a bit shell-shocked.   But even though their responses varied, what struck me was the sense of accomplishment, pride, and delight shared by the modded people themselves.  It’s this feeling that I think doesn’t translate well into words, and that is a major part of body modification for a lot of people, including me.  Even when their nearest and dearest Just.Don’t.Understand.

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I like the show . . . and I don’t.  It’s valuable for appreciating the wide range of body modification practices world wide, like the neck rings of these Burmese tribal women, and the traditional moko (chin tattoo) of the Maori people of New Zealand.  It is valuable because it shows that widespread practices such as plastic surgery are body modification too.  However, the narration is done in a breathlessly hyperbolic style which gushes.  “And he’s doing it with [gush] no anesthetic! [heavyemphasis] but he insists he felt no discomfort at all!”  Nevertheless, it’s a very well-presented, informative series, that should be on every body art aficionado’s playlist.

fin

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Piercings in the Virtual World

March 29, 2009

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I kept coming across these really interesting computer-generated depictions of piercings.   Being so not a gamer, it took me a while to figure out what they were.   If you’re nerdier than me, you may already know that Second Life is a virtual environment where people interact through avatars, have businesses, travel the world, and . . . get piercings.

sl-2-2477553229_b208f8c0c2_mApparently, a SecondLifer can purchase these type of customizations with virtual (or real?) currency, and what’s cool is they come in different gems.  The one on the left is emerald, but it also comes in onyx, silver, etc. These pics are from Knopperszarf’s photostream, who very kindly put them in the “some rights reserved” section so I can use them.

As pointed out in this blog post, customizing one’s avatar this way allows for experimentation in the virtual world with something many people would never do in the real world.

This virtual world gives us a lot of opportunity to experiment with different looks without worrying about any permanent changes that we will regret in the future. Does your full sleeve tattoo look out of place with your business suit? No sweat, just take it off…you can always put it back on later.

There are piercing events, virtual corset piercings that don’t have to be removed, and virtual tattoos.  Here’s another blog/store post with a bunch of virtual body art for your viewing pleasure. I’m sure there are a bunch of inaccuracies and misconceptions in this post, because I really know little about SecondLife, but I think it’s pretty cool!

I want a pierced avatar!  And yeah, I want a waist like that, too . . . well, I can dream, can’t I? Isn’t that what it’s all about?

For more information about SecondLife, go to (where else?) SecondLife.com.

fin


Totally stylin? or Totally trashy?

March 22, 2009

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I STILL Blame Barbie!

As I mentioned in my earlier post about modified dolls, a previous version of tattooed Barbie was banned in 1999 after parent outrage.   Ever willing to ride the trend winds, it seems Mattel is trying again.  Barbie is once again big news, with the opening of a huge Barbie megastore in China and the release of Totally Stylin’ Tattoo Barbie.

Once again, I’m probably the last blogger to mention this–but I need time to think and percolate the data through that spongy thing on top.  My brain, that is.  I see even BME has an article (and they got their stolen borrowed picture bigger than mine, hmm.)

The fact that the doll comes with a “tattoo gun” this time seems to bother people the most, although it’s really just a device to put the stickers on. Here’s a sampling of some of the responses:

Tattooed Barbie? Why not just call it “Tramp-Stamp Barbie” and put a bull’s eye above her ass?

With all these whiney EMO kids the next Barbie should be “I like to cut myself Barbie” and “I want to die Barbie”.

. . . a tattoo gun so instead of applying it with a wet wash cloth, 8 year-olds can simulate that milestone in every minor’s life experience of actual needles pumping permanent dye into their growing bodies.

To be honest, I can’t say that I get too upset about the “oversexualizing” of children, or age-appropriate toys; preferring to angst over failing education and  parental indifference and neglect.  I’m sure at least one of my daughters would disagree, but the best toys reflect real life.  My six grandkids (5 of them girls) all like to trace Grammy’s tattoos.  I fail to see why a doll you put stickers on will lead to a path of depravity.

So where is Totally Pierced Barbie, anyway?  I’m waiting!

And here, just for fun, is Blogger Barbie from BitchBuzz’s Photostream at Flickr. ‘Tho it really needs to be the blond version for me!

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Image is from Amazon, where you can buy your very own tattooed Barbie here.  Some additional sources:  MavTV, Now Public, and Whoa Momma.

. . .