Interview by Ronaldo Sampaio


Project in progress – Life Style Magazine – Adornments Column – By Ronaldo Sampaio – Interview Brian Skellie.

What are the guidelines adopted for technical education and technology within the Conferences organized annually?

The Association of Professional Piercers conferences over the years have evolved a peer review process for the educational program and a dynamic committee to oversee this. The presenters agree to provide timely subject material and keep personal opinions clearly separate from referenced facts.

How many participants were able to group this year at the Conference?

This year there were 950 officially registered attendees and many, many more who came to the event to shop for jewelry at the expo.

What is the importance of this Conference for Professionals?

For an individual at any level of experience, the valuable experience of sharing ideas with the largest variety of peers in one place is exceedingly stimulating to their growth as a professional. Each year the unique learning opportunities and community interaction offered improves, and the network of involved colleagues strengthens. We provided 99.5 hours of continuing education this year, and plan for more next year.

What is your overall view of this industry?

The desire to improve is pervasive among my peers. The amount of improvement that we have seen in the last years is exceeded by the amount needed for the future to improve the safety and quality of the piercing experience and jewelry.

This year you were in Brazil at my invitation, I wonder what you think of this experience?

I appreciate the privilege of sharing ideas with colleagues in Brazil alongside an intelligent and well prepared group of presenters.The clinical setting seemed to help people take it seriously. It seemed that the participants were earnest in their search for knowledge, and pleased to interact with lively questions and discussion about our ideas. Andre Meyer’s translation assistance for my presentations was excellent.

For me, getting to the event was complicated and emotionally mixed when the possibility that my first child could be born as I traveled came true. I had to leave early to rush back to the hospital to meet my wife who went into labor 5 weeks in advance. I’m so glad that I made it home to participate in his birth, only one hour before he arrived!

Also a well known member of our community, Shannon Larratt, the author and creator of BMEzine passed away during the event. He was an individual that many of the participants knew personally, and had encouraged them to pursue their dreams in body modification.

Regarding the standardization of metals and internal threads focused on making a jewelry safe. Would you like to talk more about the importance of these mostly prerequisites for Professional Piercers and their clients?

Jewelry safety is possibly the most important factor in the piercing experience, and it is critical to ensure that the materials are proven safe to an established medical standard for contact with healing skin and tissue. The standard specifications and testing practices produced by the not-for-profit American Society for Testing and Materials International and regulatory body the International Organization for Standardization can allow us to confirm the safe use of a jewelry material. Jewelry can be made to the same standards as surgical implants, and the results is easier healing and less irritation, sensitization, discoloration, scarring and damage to tissue.

The jewelry standards described by the APP explain the minimum criteria that the organization agrees upon for jewelry safety: material specifications to limit exposure risks to unsafe chemistry, surface finish requirements for no rough surfaces that could contact a healing piercing.

Talk a little about the molecular Anodizing Titanium in the category?

An important aspect of jewelry safety is the surface cleanliness. Removing particles and chemical residues from the surface is necessary, and commonly done for surgical implants with strong acid or an electrical cleaning process. Anodization is one such electrical cleaning processes which does not generate hazardous waste, and can be done safely, reliably and inexpensively in a piercing studio or by a jewelry manufacturer. This is described in ASTM standard F86. The electrical current reacts the jewelry as an anode with the oxygen in charged water, causing a hard oxide layer to form at the same time as stripping the surface of particles. An added benefit is that Titanium and Niobium jewelry can be colored for decorative effects with the same anodizing process as they are cleaned, and a complete color change serves as an indicator that the jewelry was cleaned. I teach how to do this and distribute the equipment describes more.

Can you talk a little about the Statim Autoclave?

In the early 1990’s at my studio Piercing Experience, I was studying decontamination methods and found a steam autoclave that claimed to sterilize in only 3.5 minutes, from start to finish sterile in 6.5 minutes. It seemed too good to be true, so I researched how the STATIM autoclave used positive pressure pulses of steam to flush hollow and porous items and was surprised that SciCan had well documented and achieved approval from the Food and Drugs Administration and similar regulatory organizations worldwide in over 100 countries. I saw the value in the use of such fast STATIM sterilizers, and introduced immediate use sterilization to the body art field which I developed in community along with other practical innovations in applied safety precautions and aseptic techniques. A few years later, I became an authorized distributor, and have trained over a thousand operators how to benefit from maximizing their display jewelry, customizing items for their clients, reducing waste, and effective asepsis.

About Free Hand techniques and manipulation of needles which could speak for Piercers who have in mind to enter this method?

Piercing has been done with accurate aim without the use of clamps since prehistoric times. Supervised training by an experienced professional is the most effective and conscientious way to learn any new piercing method if you are currently reliant upon clamps and tubes for procedures. Find a qualified trainer, and avoid the common risks and mistakes that would cause inaccuracy and injury. I teach workshops safety basics and principles in how to minimize the damage and deflection with needles that cut off center*, but it takes many supervised procedures for a piercer to become adept at controlling their sharps with the degree of accuracy needed for good results. *The common needles used for piercing are tubes cut to a point on one side, causing them to cut a U shaped entry and exit hole. This can be displaced instead of cut for more accurate placement of jewelry with easier healing and reducing the potential for scarring.

We know that your field beyond just this very practice of Body Piercing, could talk more about what are currently doing parallel industry?

I volunteer for the APP board of directors, as well as a number of committees in the ASTM International for medical and surgical materials and devices. I research and promote transparent international standardization for safety. I also sell cleaning, decontamination and sterilization technology such as STATIM and HYDRIM, along with related products.

Would you like to leave a message for Professional Piercers Brazilian accompanying their work.

My colleagues in Brazil are in a unique position to profit from the cultural and technological opportunities that their nation has to offer if you think safety first.

What is your contact with Jack Yount, one of the precursors of various modalities introduced in body modification?

When I first was interested in body modification, I read everything I could, medical, anthropological, technical and social related. I found more intense information in publications outside of the library starting with Body Art magazine in the late 1980’s and Apocalypse Culture, Piercing Fans International Quarterly, Modern Primitives and Body Play. Coincidentally, the first issue of Body Art magazine that I picked up had an interview with Jack Yount. A few years later, I met him in my search for quality body jewelry through Silver Anchor. This was the company he was financially responsible for and for which he designed most of the jewelry. They made well polished jewelry from safe materials, and his main apprentice Michael Natali was the manager. Michael gave me good advice on choosing jewelry, provided me with more reading material suggestions and introduced me to Jack when I made it clear that I wanted supervised training for procedures. We became friends and I devoted as much time as I could to interacting with Jack and learning the art and science of body modification. When he passed away, I decided that sharing what I learn is important, and have made it my goal.

To finish I would like to leave here some pictures of the Conference this year, photos of your field parallel to the industry and also some photos of their work and the DVD (Perfurando Sen Pinças / Piercing Without Clamps) which you participated?

Me perdoe fazer o texto em portugues ! Acredito que ficara mais facil a sua compreensão para me responder ao usar o tradutor…

Um forte abraço e obrigado pela atenção !

Forgive me for making the text in Portuguese! I believe it would be easier for me to understand your answer using the translator …

A big hug and thank you for your attention!

Ronaldo Sampaio

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