Beadings All Around…

… the adventures of Pepper, Jen, Ari, and Debby with needles and beads.

The day before Pride, Pepper and I (Debby) went to a “Genitorture with Needles” workshop, taught by Desiree. I had been hoping to learn a little more advanced needle technique (yes, I had previously participated in a birthday “crown of thorns” piercing, but I still didn’t feel qualified to start sticking needles into those oh-so-sensitive bits (or to let others poke needles into mine)). One of her demo bottoms was sporting a very pretty necklace, consisting of probably nine pins stuck vertically through her chest, each with elaborate beadwork. At the end of the class, Desiree offered to let us practice genital piercings on each other under her supervision. Nobody was super psyched to try it then and there, but we asked if she could instead teach us how to do beaded piercing jewelry. Desiree was eager to do so, and offered to let us use her beads to create our own design.

The technique involved is to take an 18 gauge needle, and pierce straight down (through a fold of skin, just as you would with a regular temporary piercing). You then load a straight sterling silver eye pin with a series of beads; these beads will all sit below the piercing. We find that a sterilized, 20 gauge, two-inch eye pin works well. Take the pin and insert it into the needle (with the loop end down), and then push it through the needle (upwards), while simultaneously withdrawing the needle. After the needle is out, you place a small bead at the top side (above the piercing), and then crimp the top end to hold it in place. The top bead keeps the crimp from twisting the piercing itself. The piercing can be safely kept in for a day. When it comes time to remove it, you cut it below the piercing (since the top end may be slightly kinked and you wouldn’t want to pull that through the piercing), and then pull the pin upwards.

Being that Pride was the following day, and I could thus march with piercings, I decided to offer my arm as the test site. We selected three sets of bead work, and were soon ready to go. Desiree put in the first one. She went through my skin fairly quickly, and it didn’t hurt much. Placing the pin through didn’t hurt at all, and soon the first one was in. We put a dot on my skin for the location of the second piercing, and Pepper got to put in the second one. He was very careful, and so the piercing was slower; this definitely hurt more. He then placed the third, trying to go a little faster. The pain level was less, but unfortunately, the piercing was slightly crooked so the three lines were not quite parallel; for aesthetic reasons, we ended up removing it later. The piercings bled a little bit, but stopped bleeding pretty quickly. We used alcohol to clean some of the dried blood off, but I was reluctant to move the beads and piercings around enough to really remove all the blood. Later that night, however, I was able to move everything around happily in the shower and succeeded in removing the rest of the dried blood.

At no time did I feel like I was flying, or really even spacy, but based on my responses to simple questions after the class, I must have been flying a bit…. Sleeping that night was fine. I had purposely chosen to pierce the arm I don’t sleep on, so only once during the night did I even notice it was there. The next day, I had to continue to be very careful about not snagging the piercings on things, but was pretty darned comfortable with moving my arm around otherwise. In fact, I ended up doing things like climbing on top of a van to unload bicycles for the parade while wearing high platform boots, so clearly the arm wasn’t giving me much trouble. Later that night, another friend cut them out for me, and we put tiny bandaids on them. One week later, very tiny marks are still visible if you look really carefully, but they are healing up quite quickly.

A week after that was Jen’s turn.

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