I’ve officially finished my second year as a a ‘piercing apprentice.’ So I thought I’d use this chance to talk about all of the fun and exciting things I’ve done in my second year.
The first thing I got to do was my first-aid training. Now, first aid certificates are valid for 3 years, but the UKAPP requires that you retake your first aid training every single year. It helps keeps your memory fresh, so if anything does happen, you can be prepared! This year, we did ours with the wonderful Olly Todd of Cognition BAE. It was his first ever time doing a first aid course, and he did a wonderful job! We got to practice with some dummies for CPR, while roleplaying what to do in emergencies. We also got a vest with a ‘diaphragm’ that had a foam peanut in it, and we got to enact more roleplaying scenarios in event of someone choking. Overall, it was a very fun and educational day.
AND THEN CHRISTMAS ARRIVED! If anyone knows me, they’ll know I absolutely love Christmas, and this year I got to be the official party planner for the official staff Christmas party, and it was epic. I put together google questionnaire after google questionnaire that got emailed to everyone to fill in. That way everyone got to voice opinions on what they wanted to do, where they wanted to eat, what day worked better for them etc, etc. Eventually, I managed to pull it all together and we had pizza from Suede followed by an evening in Pirates Play Centre. It was magical. We got to invite friends as well, and it was a great night out. Being in charge of organising an event was definitely quite stressful, but I enjoyed it so much, and it was so worth it to see everyone have such a great time! I started planning this years party all the way back in April!
I then turned 21, and spent the day in pyjamas on the sofa, and ordered a Chinese takeaway. Absolutely fantastic.
Around February, I got to witness my first suspension event. This was the first ever time I’d physically ever been around and seen suspension, rather than just looking at photos or videos online. It was… a lot. In a good way. The air was tense, and warm, and it just gave you the chills. It was really inspiring watching people (especially those who had gone up for the first time) completely embrace and enjoy what was happening. There is absolutely no words that could describe the atmosphere, or anything that anyone was feeling. It is its own kind of liminal space. It definitely made me feel something new.
March was an absolute whirlwind, I don’t even think I registered it pass by. The first two weeks were all about moving into my own space. I officially moved into my own flat with a very good friend, and it was a lot to take in! I then gained my UKAPP official membership! After piercing for an entire year, and already working under the high standards of membership requirements, I officially became a member. I got to hang my own certificate on the wall, alongside everyone else’s.
I then headed off to the Piercer Trade Show at Manchester, alongside the Tattoo Tea Party Convention. This time though, I went alongside Inari Organics as a vendor instead of a piercer! It was definitely a weird experience being on the other side of the table, and selling jewellery rather than buying it, but it was an experience I’d 100% do again. I’m definitely classing it as part of my training in the industry. I still got to attend some amazing classes, such as David Angeles ‘Better Basics,’ and Elizabeth Moore’s ‘Neurodivergence in Piercing.’ I even got to come away with a gorgeous new Linear Cluster with Pink CZ’s from Inari!
April was surprisingly a quiet month, well at least at work. With Aiden being on his annual leave for a couple weeks, it was left up to us guys to run the studio and ensure it didn’t burn down, and I’d like to say we did a pretty alright job. During this time, not many people had booked in for apprentice piercings, but the day he came back and we were doing our first day together, the entire day had filled with apprentice piercings, it was like everybody just knew! I got to start working on forward helix piercings, and really started coming into all the fiddly ear work which was super exciting!
May and June were surprisingly chill. As students started exam season and preparing to go home for the summer, my apprentice piercings slowed down. Gemma returned from Vegas APP conference and of course on her first day back I asked her to pierce my navel at 5mm! I am currently still healing it – it is not as easy at it seems!
In July we started thinking about conferences in September, and we booked our tickets for the UKAPP conference. I then got the confirmation that I would be flying to Berlin for BMXNET. July was then focused on trying to pack a weeks worth of stuff (and more) into a “small” bag, and researching all the tips and tricks on how to nail my first trip out of the country!
It was the start of the summer holidays in August for plenty of young children across Nottingham, which mean full days of piercing kids lobes. Piercing kids is always a nerve-wracking experience. Personally, whether I’m piercing or just doing paperwork and jewellery choices, I just want to make sure they have the best experience possible.
In September, conference season was upon us! This year I had the privilege to attend both BMXNET in Berlin, Germany and the UKAPP Safe Piercing Conference in Manchester.
Attending BMXNET was a little bit of a whirlwind. It was my first time ever leaving the country, and I couldn’t be more excited at my destination. I had 4 full days of classes packed in over my time there! I took some really nice and light classes such as the basic ‘Anodising is Awesome’ with Brian Skellie, which dove into all the necessary basics that I needed to know about anodising! I came back to the studio super excited to share my knowledge with clients! I increased my knowledge with Jane Absinth and Andre Berg’s ‘Cartilage 101’ class, which discussed all the basic cartilage piercings, such as nose/conch/helix piercings and much more. It took a dip into different ways to mark, what to look for, placements, anatomy etc. I also took a lot of history classes. I absolutely love learning about the history of the piercing world and across different cultures too. One of my favourite classes was by Jason D’Souza which was ‘The History of Body Mod in India’ discussing how piercing rituals, suspension and scarification has travelled through the time of India for thousands of years all the way up into the current day. I also got to do a little sightseeing of my own. I took the Saturday morning off and travelled into Alexanderplatz to have a small walk around and do some tourist-ing.
A week and a half after being back into the UK and back at work, I was off travelling to Manchester for the annual UKAPP conference. I travelled on the Saturday by train to go visit Holier Than Thou for a quick piercing anatomy check, and got to talk to a few of the guys about pre-conference nerves and excitement. I then headed off the the Edwardian Hotel where the conference was being held. Because I was super early I offered a free hand to the volunteers and helped get a few things ready before heading off to my hotel room for a couple hours of rest and salted pretzels! A few more of the Rogues arrived slightly later that night and we headed off to Brewdog to find more piercers and have a cheeky drink.
And then Sunday morning, it was time for registration and to attend as many classes as possible. This conference I got to take many more technique classes and learned so many new things. One of my favourites was definitely ‘The Advanced Fundamentals of Lobe Piercings’ delivered by Jef Saunders. I personally am not the biggest fan of lobe piercings, and so I thought if I could learn something new or see them from a different perspective, I might have some more fun with them. And I was right! I came away with a whole new understanding of them, and ready to try out many new things. I also took Luis Garcia’s class on bridge piercings, because they’re always super tricky and complex, and I definitely came way feeling a little bit lighter with some newfound knowledge.
Something different about this conference was that I was also attending as a vendor. This was my second time assisting as a vendor at a piercing event, and I can honestly say I do really enjoy it. This time myself and Gemma were alongside Queen Of The Ashes Jewelry. Their stuff is absolutely gorgeous, from teeth to rats to nice and simple hammering textures there’s definitely something for everyone.
One of my favourite parts of conference is definitely the outside the classroom activities. On the Sunday night I went and Karaoke-d with the awesome guys from Neilmed and Peoples Jewellery, as well as the super talented Sam Holmes (she can SING!). And on the Monday night the guys from Junipurr and That’s The Point had set up a firewalking event. The theme of the annual party this year was wrestling, so of course me and Gemma did a fabulous couples costume and ended up doing a super fun fire walk dressed as Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley. It was fabulous.
October rolled around and finished up quite quickly to be honest. I decided to use some annual leave and take a couple of weekends away from the studio. Visiting Manchester (yet again) to go and see Blink-182, visiting Matlock Bath Illuminations, and spending some much needed quality time with the family.
This year has been so fast, and I feel like I’ve done everything and yet nothing all at the same time. It’s a scary thought to think that I am in the final year of my apprenticeship, and that soon I’ll be standing completely on my own two feet holding myself up and forward, but with a team like Rogue, I couldn’t ask for better support.