Piercing Only Studios

April 17, 2009

The Way to Go

Although piercing has become willy nilly associated with tattooing, and most tattoo studios now have a resident piercer, for a  great piercing experience,  look into piercing-only studios. These are really the cream of the crop, and although they are located mostly in large urban areas, they are worth a special trip, or a visit while in the area.  These studios are great places to look into for the well-educated pierced consumer, ambitious piercees, and for piercings requiring particular expertise, such as genital piercings.

I’m not saying, of course, that you can’t find a good piercer at a tattoo studio.  But sometimes piercing can be an afterthought in such a place; a kind of neglected step-child. At piercing-only studios, you are almost certain to find piercers who are conscientious and dedicated to their craft, and a wide range of top-notch jewelry.  You can expect a thoughtful ambiance and carefully crafted decor, and frequently a display of rare or unusual ethnic jewelry.  There’s no buzz of the tattoo machine, which is sweet music to some; but annoying to others.  Too, sometimes people will be put off by the serious and superior tone of these studios, but for me that’s just right.  These  piercers and customers are serious about their holes!

Here  are just a few to check out (listed in alpha order).  These reflect the current industry standards, and although the quality and frequency of updating their websites vary, all have  good information about piercing.

Evolution Body Piercing, Albuquerque, NM

Infinite Body Piercing, Philadelphia, PA

Rings of Desire,  New Orleans, LA  (Now closed, but the website remains a good source of info)

Virtue and Vice, Atlanta, GA

Of course, these are just a few of the fine piercing-only shops out there.  You can find more by perusing the listings at www.safepiercing.org.  If you know of a particular shop you like, please let me know.


The Anti-Experience: Pt. 1

December 22, 2008


The Anti-Experience, by Cloud.

Featuring Beautiful Daughter No. 1 and a road trip to Albuquerque to visit Evolution Body Piercing and get a Monroe, nipple, and chest anchor piercings.

Tired of the same old “experience”?

I went to the shop . . . met the piercer . . . he was cool . . . got pierced . . . it hurt like a sonuvabitch! . . . ([or] it didn’t hurt at all!) . . . got new shinies . . . blah blah blah . . . am proud.

Me, too! so — here’s my “anti-experience.”  I like to use mind-maps sometimes–they’re great for note taking, learning, or articulating a concept. (Some delicious tags for mindmaps here.) Note: This is without a doubt the single dorkiest thing I have ever done.


Road Trip with my Bodymod buddy!

Beautiful Daughter No. 1 is my bodymod buddy. [ETA: I know it’s not “boddy” mod buddy.  No, I can’t change it now–live with it!] She’s provided moral support countless times, designed 2 of my tattoos, and even inked a few lines in another of my tattoos. . It’s so nice to have someone to hold your hand and give you a second opinion; not to mention company for the road.  I’ve driven that trip to Albuquerque and Santa Fe many times, but there’s a whole lot of Nothing out here! 4 hours up; get pierced (or tattooed); 4 hours down.



The Studio:

We went to see Noah Babcock at Evolution in Albuquerque. Beautiful place! I love going to piercing only shops.  Noah gave good directions and it was easy to find!


Here’s Angela at the counter who patiently explained the information about my jewelry three times.

anti-b-100_0785Here’s the beautiful lobby.  Water, plants, fish.  Jewelry! Noah gave me a tour.  He showed me the piercing rooms, sterilization equipment, the decontamination room door–all the stuff.

No, I didn’t ask to see the spore tests. Maybe next time I’ll ask and get a pic.


Here’s Jamie, another piercer, doing packaging. Work, work, work!


The Piercer: Noah

Noah came highly recommended and is an APP Piercer who is actively involved in developing and refining piercing techniques and jewelry, and is an industry advocate.  It’s so nice to know that the person about to stick a needle in you is very experienced and skilled. Noah has a terrific client manner, is calm, reassuring and funny.  He made BD#1 and feel I very welcome, before he shoved sharp things in us!

Tune in for Part 2–there’s still the marking, piercing, jewelry, and aftercare to go!

How to find a safe piercing studio

December 2, 2008

Image via Wikipedia

The following is re-posted, with permission, from piercer John Lopez, who was featured here earlier.   The Pierced Consumer is all about being the smartest piercing customer you can be, and here are some pointers from the other side of the needle:

Be a Smart Customer! Yes, I’m Talking to You!

It never ceases to amaze me just how many bad customers I have.  My impression is that about 75% of the people who walk into my shop have no clue at all about what goes on in a shop.  I’d go further and say that only about 1% actually ask the right questions and investigate safety concerns.  I’m not name-calling or trash-talking, just stating my observations.

It has been over three years since a customer walked in and asked to see my Autoclave Spore Test results! [Note: The image to the right is an autoclave.] Three years and not one request to see proof that our sterilization procedures work.  I believe the vast majority of people know that sterilizlation takes place in shops, so why don’t people ask about it?  The public appears to blindly trust our industry to be honest, professional and ethical.  If they only knew the truth!

I live in a very small city right now and I’ve lived and worked in San Diego, San Francisco & Seattle as well.  It’s the same everywhere I go:  A couple good shops surrounded by many bad shops.  By “good” shops I mean “safe” shops where strict Cross Contamination Controls and Decontamination Protocols are in place.  Completely ignoring skill and quality and only looking at safety, I’ve observed very few “good” shops in my 16 years in this industry.

Be a good customer.  Here are just a few SIMPLE things to ask when you visit any shop . . . yes, even your “regular” shop:

  1. Spore Test Results. Autoclaves should be tested regularly –at a minimum of monthly, preferably weekly.  Independent Lab Results should be available upon request.
  2. OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Training (citation omitted).  Usually in certificate form, but may also simply be logged in training documents.  Ask to see the Exposure Control Plan.  Don’t actually try to read it–just the fact that its’ there says way more than you might realize.
  3. Decontamination Room. Decontamination is the process of returning a contaminated item to a sterile state.  This process must take place entirely in a designated area separate from the shop’s work spaces.  Often the Decon areas are referred to as the “sterilization room(s).”

In my opinion, if these three things are being done correctly and openly the shop takes its role seriously and most likely you’ve found a “good” shop.  Hopefully the work coming out of that shop is also good.

Don’t be afraid to ask.  Don’t be afraid to [research] and get more information if you need it.  Don’t ignore your gut-instincts.  If you are uncomfortable at all just leave.

Instead of price shopping, go out safety shopping

Thanks again John for these great tips.  Be part of the one percent!

Originally posted here at Tribalectic.