The Guess What Game (Results)

Time’s up!  It’s time to see how everyone did.  But before we get to the results, lets get a quick recap of today’s game.

Any final guesses?  Now’s the time.

To see the results, you know what to do…

A big round of applause for everyone who guessed it was a nipple piercing.   Lunaboo sent in this this picture of his nipple, which ended up being a pretty easy guess for a lot of people.

Round 1

Round two upped the difficulty a little bit with this female chastity ladder.  As impressive as this is, check back later in the week for another image that was sent in by the same person.

Round 2

Finally round three brought us the most difficult image to guess to date, well at least I think it is.  What you’re looking at is a partial glans removal, coupled with a shaft apadravya, fed through a tunnel.  NuderThanNude sent in this picture of his project, and I’ve included another shot of the partial glans removal to give you a better look at it.

Round 3

So how did you do?  Any perfect scores this week?  With round three being what it is I’ll be really surprised if someone could guess that.

Next week will be a whole new edition of the Guess What Game, so if you’ve got any photos of your modifications that you think may fool some people, send them in!

The Venus de ModBlog

Well it looks like the beautiful Sarah B. has been busy yet again.  This time, with the help of photographer Ray Del Mar, the two of them have re-imagined a couple of pieces of art into something fresh.

Is that statue in the way?  Don’t worry, keep reading and you can see the original photo, without that pesky statue.

So for the first photo we have Sarah tied up to mimic the Venus de Milo.  As for the painting behind her, I know I’ve seen it before, but I can’t recall exactly.  Hopefully some art savvy readers can fill me in.

Venus de ModBlog

Next we have Sarah interjected into Edward Hopper’s “Room in Brooklyn”.

The combination of her piercings and the bondage, mixed with the classical feel of the paintings brings forth a perspective of both cultures blending together almost seamlessly.

The Dreaded BMEGirl

Does there really need to be a reason to make a BMEGirl post?  I didn’t think so.  This photo of the lovely Nix was sent in by Yourladyfriend.  It has pretty much everything you could want in a BMEGirl, glasses, dreads, and pierced nipples.  Oh, what’s that?  You can’t see the nipple piercings?  You better keep reading then to see the full photo.

According to Yourladyfriend, the piercers are as follows:  ”Horizontal nipples by Jay at Ace of Spades Medusa by Penelope at Lucky’s”.

ModBlog News of the Week: Oct 22nd, 2010

It’s time again for the news of the week.  This week’s edition brings us a modified church, a charity event that became too popular, an actress willing to completely change herself for a role, and much more.

First off is what is probably the coolest implant related news ModBlog has seen in a long time.  Implant grade LED lights.

implantable LEDs

The LED arrays were developed by John Rogers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and they can twist and stretch by as much as 75%. Coated in thin silicon rubber, they’re also waterproof and safe to implant under the skin.

Now the article goes on to describe them as “LED Tattoos”, but they seem more in line with the silicone implants currently being used by practitioners.  There aren’t too many details given about the power source, but if they’re able to safely embed a battery and/or an activation button into the array, I can think of several people who could put these to some creative uses.

These lights are just the tip of the iceberg of today’s news, so keep on reading to see what else has been going on around the world.

It seems eyeball tattoos have popped up in the news again, this time Portland, Or. where Matthew Gone has colored the whites of his eyes blue and green.

Mr Gone has now gone where few other tattoo lovers have dared by getting his eyes coloured permanently.  He conducted the risky operation by himself at his home, colouring one eye blue and the other green.  ”I patch-tested it and was successful. I had to take the risk. I’ve done that a lot of times before,” Mr Gone said.  ”I’m not crazy. I’m trained. I have a lot of experience.  ”I picked different colours because I like mutations because I have birth defects,” he said, offering no further explanation.

Unfortunately the story doesn’t go into too much detail, although there is a brief video interview with Matt.  I’m positive ModBlog readers will be able to identify Matt, as he’s got a pretty distinctive look, and can hopefully give us a little more information than the article did.

Speaking of distinctive looks, if you’ve got a facial tattoo that can be identified easily, it’s probably not a good idea to go around stealing phones from people; especially if the tattoo you have is lettering on your forehead that says “I’m me”.

What better way to identify yourself to police when you’re wanted for a crime than to get the phrase “I’m Me” tattooed across your forehead?  Well, that’s how easy it was for South Florida police to spot Joseph Williams, 19, who was wanted for a string of iPhone phone robberies.  Williams was wanted in connection with the theft of nearly two dozen iPhones throughout South Florida. Investigators said Williams began his mini-crime spree Aug. 20 and struck at least 19 times, according to WFOR.  Police reports indicate that Williams would casually walk into an AT&T store, find the iPhone display and then snatch one or two phones from the security cables before scurrying out of the store.

Thankfully not all tattoo related ideas are bad.  In Heckler, IL. Eternal Ink Tattoo Studio recently offered free pink ribbon tattoos to anyone who wanted one.  The idea was to raise awareness in the community.


Eric Catalano thought he was making a small gesture to support people affected by breast cancer. He thought his quiet offer of free pink ribbon tattoos might bring 50 people to his studio in tiny Hecker, Illinois.

So on October 14, he and his crew started waiving the normal $30 charge for the tiny ribbons, and the response has been enormous. By the end of the day on Thursday, October 21, they had given out 418 tattoos, Catalano says, and were still working Friday morning. So many people have shown up, that the studio has turned away regular customers to focus on the pink ribbons.

Heading down under, the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne is hosting a new photography exhibit about Holocaust survivors and their tattoos.


A highlight of a visit to the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC) is the opportunity to interact with Holocaust survivors, eyewitnesses to history. Most poignant is when the survivors who were tattooed roll up their sleeves and show visitors their permanent marker – the tattoo from Auschwitz.  Not all survivors have tattoos. Tattooing was done at Auschwitz but only to prisoners who were ‘selected’ to be slaves rather than gassed. As the late survivor Lou Sokolow, who was a tattooist in Auschwitz, reports in his video testimony,  ‘A guy who got a number was lucky. Why? Because he didn’t go straight away to the crematoria.’  Most survivors who were branded by the Nazis like cattle do not see it as a badge of shame. On the contrary, they feel that it demonstrates the inhumanity of the Nazi perpetrators.

I highly encourage anyone who is in or can get to Melbourn, to go and check out this exhibit.

Another article from Australia, this time Sydney, takes a look at tattoos and piercings in the workplace.  It actually is a somewhat fair and balanced article, which runs counter to a lot of other articles that come up about modifications all over the world.

Piercings and tattoos are more common than ever and this is proving to be a challenge for some employers. Body art might be acceptable out of the workplace, but for many companies, it creates issues when the person is out meeting clients.  The Pew Research Centre in the United States has found that about a third of Generation Next, the generation that grew up with mobile phones, the internet and personal computers, will have a tattoo. Some more research, again out of the US, found that 23 per cent of university students had one to three tattoos, and 51 per cent had one or more piercings (other than earlobes) and yet another one showed that 32 per cent of Gen Xers have tattoos.

The article goes on to discuss that while a lot of people are accepting of tattoos/piercings, when it comes to customer service, having “FUCK YOU” tattooed on your forehead might make it difficult to get a job.

Of course, for every positive (or even neutral) article, there are several negative ones.  According to the Guardian in the UK, women claiming that their “tatts” are spiritual in any way, especially if they do yoga, are basically telling the world that they’re not classy in any way.

While my feelings for Katona have never gone further than the “meh” mark on the emotional dial, few things highlight blatant class snobbery about certain issues as the conjunction of the mockery of Katona’s tattoos in the tabloids and the cod-spiritual smugness surrounding tattoos one sees in one’s yoga class. Yet where one kind is indicative of one’s higher devotion, the other is laughable, when some of the more democratic among us might think that latter description applies to all equally. Similarly, one could argue that if these be-tattooed yogic folk were really so spiritual, they wouldn’t feel the need to inform everyone else of this or remind themselves of it, via the medium of the tattoo. Moreover, some innocently untattooed people in the yoga class – who would otherwise be totally ace at balancing – find the light of self-satisfaction that radiates off their classmates’ tattoos is so blinding they topple over. Were it not for the tattoos, honestly, they’d be able to stand on one foot for hours and truly focus and not think once about how they forgot to set the Sky+ for The Daily Show a-bloody-gain.

It seems this back and forth in the news will probably never end, although we can hope right?

Now, in the past few ModBlog news posts, there has been a lot of discussion about the young woman who was suspended from high school for having her nostril pierced.  There definitely was a mixed reaction to the case as some felt that her belonging to the Church of Body Modification should be recognized by the school board.  Some felt the school shouldn’t even care that much, as it’s just a nostril piercing and isn’t doing anybody any harm.  Then there were those who felt that because she was a minor, and in public school, she should follow the dress code laid out by the school.  The question I post is this; if you think that she should obey the dress code of the school because she’s in high school, would you feel the same way if your college suddenly applied similar rules?  That’s the question students at Fayetteville Technical Community College in North Carolina may be facing as the board of trustees is looking into revising the school’s policies with regards to tattoos and piercings.

Under existing policies, the school has a general, non-specific dress code. A more specific dress code could help the students said trustee Susie S. Pugh, chairwoman of the school’s curriculum committee. That committee is considering the dress code.

“Right now, with the styles and the piercings and everything that’s going on with them, right now, we’re concerned that when you go to look for a job, with all of these, you aren’t going to be successful,” she said.

While the board is examining the possibly outcomes they are recognizing that trying to impose these rules on adults may be met with some form of legal action.

In the final news story of the day, a tattoo studio in Victoria, TX. has taken up the role of a ministry as well as a studio.  The owners of Timeless Tattoo Studio are a couple of born again christians, who have chosen to spread their beliefs through their work.

As the only Christian tattoo studio in Victoria, Mallette, 38, and Martin, 20, said their clients can expect much more than a professional and all-custom tattoo experience in their store. In addition to Timeless Tattoo’s spa-like ambience, the studio provides a Bible study and prayer room on-site, and adheres to a company policy against performing tattoos that reflect demonic, satanic, or occult messages. They also will not tattoo on private areas of the body.

Regardless of whether Christians see tattooing as right or wrong, Mallette said Christians of every stripe participate in body modification.  ”Prior to being saved, people would ask me whether I thought tattooing was wrong, and I would tell them there are a lot of forms of body modification that people do without even thinking about it: They pierce their ears, cut their hair, have breast implants and face lifts, they get their nails done, and some women even tattoo eye liner and lip liner on their face,” Mallette said. “Society sees those as normal, so where’s the line?”  For now, Mallette and Martin see their body art and piercings as a way to reach people who wouldn’t traditionally be excited about God.  ”I think people of all walks can be used to minister now, and God may be using us to reach people who would never step foot in a church otherwise,” she said.

Now while I said that was the final “news” story of the day, don’t think I haven’t forgotten about everyone’s favorite section, the celebrity news!

A few weeks back Kelly Osbourne announced that she was getting some of her tattoos removed.  Well it probably came at a good time for her, as when she tried to enter a gym in Tokyo she was refused admission based on her tattoos.

Now when it comes to celebrity tattoos, most of the time the media just posts a story along the lines of “LOOK AT ______’s NEW TATTOO!  HE/SHE’s A REBEL”, or something to that effect.  Well color me shocked when I found this story about Emma Stone’s new tattoo.

Emma Stone has just revealed that Paul McCartney helped design her new tattoo, which she is getting for her family.  The 21-year-old actress says that she approached the former Beatle and asked him for the favor after her mother had recovered from a tough battle with cancer.   ”Two years ago . . . . she got diagnosed with breast cancer,” Stone explained on The Late Show With David Letterman. “And she’s out of the woods now, which is amazing. We’ve never gotten tattoos before, and probably never will again.”  She went on to say: “My mom’s favorite song is ‘Blackbird’, and it’s my favorite song as well. I wrote a letter to Paul McCartney asking him if he would draw two little bird feet, because he wrote the song. And yesterday, he sent them to me.”

Finally, when it comes to getting ready for a part, actors have been known to take some drastic measures.  DeNiro gained a ton of weight for Raging Bull, Christian Bale lost a near unhealthy amount of weight for his role in the Machinist, only to bulk up in a few short months to play the role of Batman, and Noomi Rapace went out and got several piercings for her role in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Well it seems that Mara Rooney, the actress chosen to portray the same role that Noomi portrayed, has also undergone some changes that puts her in the same league with the others.


The actress was actually chosen over Scarlet Johansson for the leading role. All thanks to the director, David Fincher. For the upcoming film, Mara Rooney had to bleach her eyebrows and dye her hair as dark black is it could get. She also had to go get her nipples pierced for a topless scene in the flick.

What is actually sad for this young actress is she has spent most of her time in her hotel room in beautiful Sweden. The reason being the director wants to keep her hidden from the public eye in order to make sure her look isn’t seen yet. However, a photo has been leaked out of her wearing a pierced lip.

So that’s it for the news this week.  As always, if you find a news story that you think would fit in with the News of the Week, just click here to submit the link.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and I’ll see you all back here again on Monday.

The Guess What Game (Results)

Well, the moment you’ve been waiting for all day is here, the results from today’s Guess What game.

First a quick re-cap of the images.

Round 1


Round 2


Round 3


So, if you haven’t had a chance to guess, here’s your last chance.  If you think you know what all three are, keep reading to find out!

If you guess a stretched labia for round one, give yourself a pat on the back.  IAM: Jay-Z is the proud owner of this genital project, and you can see more images of it in the female piercing gallery.


Round 2 was probably one of the easier ones, but for some people it may have gotten them bent out of shape trying to figure it out.  From the hard galleries comes Falica’s CBT play.  For the life of me I can’t figure out how he did this, but it is an impressive use of piping.


And finally, the third round brought us probably the trickiest image to figure out.  From the extreme gallery comes this image from Rogerdaily.  What you’re seeing is an extreme vacuum pumping session on his nipple.  Obviously this is something that shouldn’t be attempted unless you’re well aware of the risks involved.


So how many did you get right?  Were you close on a couple?

These three images show just how big a range some of the BME galleries cover.  If you don’t yet have a subscription, you can sign up for a free one today, or if you’re interested in a subscription to the hard/surgical/video sections, you can do so as well on the sign up page.

About a boy

Well hello there! Many many thanks to Arseniy Andersson for this submission.   We’ve got some large stretched lobes, some nipple piercings, music tattoos, microdermals and implants, oh my!  Most importantly, we’ve got a beautiful boy sporting all of these things!


One more after the jump!


You can see more of this boy in my dreams in the BME galleries.

Interview with James Keen; a young, heavily modified, eunuch.

I first talked to James several years ago. At the time he was a minor seeking answers to questions about heavy mods. In all honesty, I didn’t take him too seriously. I foolishly lumped him in with several other young modders that seemed to be more into the fantasy of obtaining heavy mods than the reality of doing so. In fact, I distinctly remember some photo editing of mods onto a picture of his face at one point which made it truly seem as if it was all just fantasy for him.

However, as years passed, it became obvious he was totally serious with his desires and he began to get all the mods he had previously spoken with me about.

Several years ago, he interviewed me for the now defunct Now it is time for me to turn the tables and interview him. So without further ado, I give you a conversation with the now 26-year-old James Keen.


Sean: So, James, tell us how you first got interested in body mods.

James: Funny thing how it all started, I had desire for things like castration and face tattooing at an early age BUT what got me started was me and my friends sitting around listening to the band Korn. This is when they released the album Life Is Peachy I believe. We were sitting around listening to Korn all day and I saw my friend’s poster of the lead singer and noticed he had 3 eyebrow rings. At the time I was about 15 years old. We were all chicken shit to even venture off into piercing even though I secretly wanted to be castrated.

A few days went by and the more I saw the poster, the more this primitive urge in me said “get your eyebrow pierced!” I admit, for me it was a big step, one that would change the outcome for me on everything. Including castration and the works. At the time I believe you had to be 16 with parental consent. But I knew I needed it, the urge was bad. The more I thought of it, the more I wanted it. We all had a mutual friend who knew a guy who did piercings for minors. This is obviously a no-no for anyone out there. Get pierced the right way! But for me, I took the risk. I went in, paid him 20 dollars and he had piercing needles. He even opened one up in front of me with a new pack of jewelry. At the time things seemed clean, but looking back there were obvious signs I shouldn’t have gotten it. But I don’t regret it.

He then pierced my eyebrow at a 16 gauge. My parents saw, raised hell, and we had The Long Talk. To my surprise they said if I waited until I was 16 they would consent for a simple piercing. I kept the eyebrow for a year before moving on.

Sean: And move on you did! By far the most attention grabbing modification you have is your extensive facial tattooing, why don’t you tell us about those pieces.

James: Facial tattoos go back to me being a kid. I’m sure as kids we all painted on ourselves to look different or for fun. I remember seeing a magazine where a tribesman had designs tattooed on his face. I thought that was just beautiful. As a kid I then started painting my face, but to my disappointment it washed off. Then later I moved on to markers and pens and whatever I could get my hands on. My parents could not figure out why I was doing it. To me it felt… natural! Later on I would end up with my face covered in tattoos. It started off with me testing the waters, a spur of the moment tattoo. On my forehead I had a bullet hole wound tattooed, Which has since been covered up. On my one cheek I had a color organic bio-mech piece, the other a black and grey rotting jaw reconstruction. Later I added line work for my chin which is an eye with tentacles. And my bullet hole was covered up by skulls and bio-mech type style work.


The cheeks represent a yin yang type thing, the color organic is to show people I am beautiful, I am nice and forgiving, and I have a good heart. The other cheek is to show that even though I’m good I still have bad in me like most do. The eyes and worm in it show I am human and my bad is a fault that will watch over me and feed on me until the day I die. The forehead piece actually is like a crude crown of skulls to show my imperfections. And the line work with tentacles holds everything together with the eye watching over all of me.

Sean: To an outsider, the facial tattoos would seem like the most life changing modification you have. However, knowing that you have been castrated, a modification which changes you chemically as well as just aesthetically, I would presume that is your biggest life changing mod. How did the desire to become a eunuch come about and how has life changed since the procedure?

James: At a young age and honestly, the motivation actually started with me wanting to be genderless. The feeling that I am not a male or female. At the time, I felt like my penis and testicles mostly didn’t belong. Though I never thought of just coming out and cutting them off. It was more of, “I do not like these, how can I rid myself of it?” This went on for years until I hit puberty. Then I really hated it. The sex drive is one thing I didn’t care for. Oddly enough I was having sex only to ease the craving I would get from the testosterone produced from my testicles. I then remember watching something about gender reassignment surgery. And then it hit me, maybe I could get my testicles removed and penis! At the very least my testicles!

I was young and for years I struggled with it. I felt like I was the only one. I then came across a site called the Eunuch Archive. And realized I wasn’t so alone. People have and wanted to get what I wanted. Most were going to surgeons to get this goal accomplished. It was then I learned full genital removal was like the city of gold, very few find it. So I made things reasonable for myself. Get castrated, and get it done so I could rid myself of what I was cursed with. In all honesty, I should have gone to a surgeon, but I didn’t. Instead I sought out a Cutter. It took a long time, but I found one. Once again I was faced with taking a chance, and I took it.


The cutter I will not reveal, or where it was done. However, I will say he only required the supplies to do the procedure with. He did the procedure, left a stint in for draining purposes and sealed the scrotum up. I remember as my second testicle was being clipped from the body, it was an experience I won’t forget! The feeling of YES it is finally done! I remember it all like yesterday. Months after, and I’m talking 3-4 months of not taking testosterone shots or anything, I started getting hot flashes. Basically going through what a woman does in menopause. After that I no longer have them, life is good. My body hair is finer than it used to be. I can say I no longer want my penis gone, Ill keep it only because now I can tell castration really made me the person who I was supposed to be. My only worry now is osteoporosis.

Sean: I know that you didn’t go into the castration alone, you did it with your then partner, luvpain. How was this relationship?

James: My relationship with luvpain was up and down, not his fault. Its just I had jealousy problems which put strain on our relationship. We shared everything, including castration. Once we were both castrated, sex died down greatly which was okay. We started to cuddle more, kiss, caress and for fun I would do sexual things to him just to see if I could make another eunuch get off. Sorry for the blunt image. He is a wonderful soul and I feel ashamed of how I treated him since he has passed on. After that, I was actually in a relationship with a girl. Which is super odd. At first she was like how can we make this work if you don’t use your penis? I gave mostly oral sex and it lasted a while. Until she wanted me to move with her, I couldn’t do it. So we parted ways and I told her I hope she has a fulfilling life.

I have no preference sexually. I love both women, men, transgendered and what not. Even genderless people. For me a penis or vagina doesn’t matter. I look beyond that. As a eunuch, I think I can.

Sean: You have also removed your nipples, how did this mod fit into the overall plan?

James: Well the motivation for my nipple removal was simple, I wanted a Ken Doll-like effect. Unlike my castration nipple removal was purely cosmetic. I remember getting both done and keeping the nipple skin as a souvnir. I cannot remember what happend to it afterwards though.


Sean: Trophies like that do tend to get lost over time. So you want a modded “Ken doll,” does this mean you have, or plan on getting a full penectomy?

James: I dont, I wish. I been trying to get a penectomy for years now. All I have is castration, a subincision and a head split.

Sean: “All I have”, haha, that is one way of looking at it! So is the penectomy on the long term plan? Are you just looking for a practitioner?

James: Penectomy is definatly still the plan, I once said that castration may suit me but I do want a penectomy. It’s who I am. I am not the type of person who wants a deep penectomy, one flush to the body will do me just fine. Getting a penectomy is like finding the lost city of gold, it exists possibly but very hard to get to.

Sean: Judging by what we have spoken about, and the pictures you submitted, you are extremely modified. Aside form the penectomy, are you done, or are more major modifications in your future?

James: As far as major mods go, I want a full body suit tattoo. I have a back piece going on with a full torso piece coming up. I want my left pinky tip amputated but that is to be decided. I have an amputation fetish. There is something about amputees, especially small digit amputations that really gets me going. Its more of a sexual thrill. I think a pinky tip missing is not only aesthetically pleasing but sexy at the same time. So it would only be in due time I would want the same beauty of what it offers unto myself.


Sean: I assume you have you seen the toecutter videos on BME?

James: I have! I actually have! It was something to see too! For me watching the toecutter videos is equivalent to a normal guy watching porn! I know it sounds strange, but like I said before, small digit amputation gets me going. I remember seeing him using a chisel on one of his fingers. It was amazing, beautiful and erotic! I remember seeing pics of his feet to. He definitely has a craft for it.

Sean: I imagine your mods have a huge impact on your day to day life, but  what is your daily life like outside of the mods?

James: Well I work from home, pretty uneventful. Then I also have a second job which pays minimum wage. Washing dishes and cooking at a independent restaurant in my town. Lucky for me they know me and gave me a job and I work in the back where no one sees me. Then there is video games. I love video games. I actually own three video game consoles, the Nintendo Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360. Tons of games, and an HDTV to get the best out of my gaming experience. I also meditate heavily, I tend to meditate in calm environments.

Sean: One last thing, I distinctly remember you from is your work on Since most of our readers probably won’t be familiar with that site, why don’t you tell them a bit about it.

James: I remember WOW I was young then! I remember when Shannon was running things and I came to him with ideas, he seemed to think it was a good one and set me up with a site. The idea was to have young modified people run a site for those who were younger. A place for discussion and without judgment. I did say that once you reach I believe age 18 or over, you pass the torch to another young modder to take over. Many people do not know I was involved in that, me and another fellow. It was a highlight of my life that I still hold high in regards.


James, Steve Haworth luvpain99

Q&A with Jared of onetribe organic body jewelry.

I have known Jared for several years now, a bit before he started onetribe. When he first approached me at one of the old Richmond Suspension Socials with a few pairs of plugs and a dream, I thought he was crazy. I didn’t think it was even possible for one man to compete with the established organic jewelry companies. Well, obviously, he proved me wrong. Not only did he prove me wrong, he did so in an honorable and humble way that deserves recognition. So without further ado, I present to you a few question with jared from onetribe.


Jared hard at work grinding jade

For the questions, keep on keeping on.


Tell us a little about yourself and what got you into body mods.

From a young age I was interested in the idea that the body could be colored and shaped to fit an aesthetic purpose. My childhood was shadowed by my home life so I spent a lot of time alone in the basement reading the massive collection of National Geographic magazines that my grandfather had been saving for years. I learned at an early age that the world was full of people of all different colors and shapes, and that people decorated themselves both to individualize as well as for inclusion and identification. My parents were always fairly accepting of the fact that I was intellectually interested in body modification but were adamant that I not do anything to my body until I was 18 – “my house, my rules” sort of thing. I practiced some easily concealed piercings but never really kept anything in terms of permanent jewelry. I graduated high school just before turning 18 and a few months later moved several hours south to go to art school. It was there I finally started exploring piercings openly and started filling myself up with holes – professionally done tongue, nostril, nipples, lobes, and some self-done genital work. In the years immediately following I started doing a lot of research into tribal cultures and learning more about the origins of Western body modification as well as body adorning cultures closer to home. In particular my interests lie in Mesoamerican and North American cultures, and it’s those cultures I find most fascinating as I have Cherokee blood and have always been very interested in native culture and ritual, and the inherent closeness to nature that formed the backbone of those societies. In the years since, I have retired many piercings and focused on those with more historical significance, along with some heavier work including cartilage punches, my large labret, and of course a chest scarification piece that you did several years ago.


onetribe antiques and cases

What inspired you to start onetribe?

I started looking around for natural jewelry in mid 2002 and very little was available in terms of designs and most of it was wholesale. There were a few online companies selling retail but most of the jewelry was coming from the same places and I don’t think there were any companies that solely focused on the retail side of things that produced their own products. I saw an interesting niche for a self-manufacturing, retail direct-to-consumer business model via the web. Having been a web developer and print designer for several years I had enough background knowledge of eCommerce to pull together a web store on a budget and shave off an incredible amount of start up cost, so the only real costs were the inventory we started with and the shipping materials, making it an ideal scenario for what I hoped would be a successful shoe-string budget startup.

In starting the business I went to every body jewelry website and company I could find and scoured each site from page to page, clicked on every link, read every document, and learned about what made each business unique (or not). I also visited hundreds of eCommerce sites on the web and from all of this information I compiled a massive list of the things I did or didn’t like about each company, and the feeling and overall business presence of the website and their customer service, based on the site copy and any reviews or experiences I could find. From that I developed a business plan of what I thought the perfect “mom & pop” feeling online small business might entail.

There were a few things I found lacking specifically in the body jewelry industry in late 2002 into early 2003 – reference information & general product knowledge, professionalism (skulls, flames, and copy writing that included things like “tatz” just weren’t doing it for me), and easy to use websites that allowed for personal dialogue between the business and customer. These were the things that we focused on when writing the initial copy for Onetribe’s site and designing the user interface and products. We wanted to portray a knowledgeable, professional business that could be trusted, but that was also very creative and open to dialogue. A business that feels like interacting with everyday people was, and still is, my number one priority.

Could you tell us a bit about the history/progress of onetribe?

Onetribe started in my bedroom in the basement of a house outside of Richmond, VA with some, admittedly generic, horn and bone jewelry carved by the artisans we still work with today. The paperwork for legal business status was filed the first week of January 2003 and Onetribe was officially born. The eCommerce site was started prior to that by myself and a friend in Rhode Island collaborating remotely, and was completed in three months and launched mid February. I badgered the hell out of my partner at the time, Rachel Easter, to help me out with the organizational and monetary side of things because I am a total math idiot and generally needed a second head to help me keep track of things, and she’s still with the business to this day as our office manager and primary customer service contact.

At the time we did not have the hardware capability or time to produce enough jewelry in house to be competitive and get off the ground, so one of the first orders of business was to find good product. There were several wholesale jewelry vendors out there to choose from but we were trying to eventually move in a different direction and make Onetribe unique, so through some phone calls and emails I ran across a guy named Everett, originally from the USA but living in Australia. He was paying his way through journalism school there by wholesaling jewelry from some artists he knew in Bali. This turned out to be a perfect match for us because after working with Everett for a little while he permitted us to start sending our own jewelry illustrations and we started turning out completely unique products. We became Everett’s biggest customer and in 2005 we were given the opportunity to purchase his company. I then travelled to Indonesia for the first time to begin working one on one with our artists there.

For the first few years I maintained a full time job while running Onetribe – first working as a youth behavior counselor at an inner city elementary school, and then for the company that prints National Geographic up near D.C. I was commuting several hours each way for a 12hr night shift and eventually it got to the point where I was too exhausted to care about much of anything and Onetribe had grown enough that if I didn’t pay more attention to it, we ran the risk of impacting the business negatively. I left having a full time job and took the plunge into self employment supplemented by some coffee shop work, which in hindsight was more for discounted coffee to fuel workaholism than it was for the money. Eventually I took the full plunge and started dedicating 60-80-100 hour weeks directly to Onetribe. Shortly after that, Rachel was able to ditch her job for full time employment at Onetribe, and we have been growing by leaps and bounds ever since.

For the first several years, growth was exponential as knowledge about the company spread via word of mouth. Until very recently we had never done advertising of any sort and relied on our customers to pass out the business cards we included with every order. We have moved the studio times, and over the years as we were able to grow our customer base and thus our sales, we have reinvested virtually everything back into the company. We helped to build a nicer workshop for our artisans abroad and started supplying tools and materials so that they had to invest nothing but their exceptional skills back into the business. We also invested in tooling and machines for our Richmond workshop and for several years now we have been making what we believe to be some of the most interesting natural custom body jewelry that exists, including reproductions of traditional Mesoamerican jadeite multi-piece ear flares, and a method for setting inlays, including stone into stone, with hardware settings and no adhesives. We have been able to build a local showroom including an antiquities museum and workshop, designed in such a way as to enable customers to come and see jewelry being made, and place custom orders on site with the materials in their hands and the understanding of how that jewelry is physically created.


What kind of political and/or ecological stance does onetribe take with its jewelry materials and manufacturing?

The double edged sword of business is that it has to make money in order to exist, and money can cause all sorts of social and environmental problems both directly and indirectly. I decided a long time ago that because businesses hold the majority of the worlds wealth, and if structured properly they are composed of employees and customers of like mind, they should be used as a catalyst for bettering our society based on certain values. We do not take a specific political stance so much as we make it a point to promote what we believe to be values and actions that contribute to a sustainable society and environment. We try very hard to be as low impact as possible, buying materials as we need them, reutilizing and repurposing things to get the most out of everything from materials to workshop tools to computer hardware. We shred all of our business and employee junk mail as the packing materials you get in your box. There is a statement on our site about the origins of our labor and materials, that at the very least is an interesting read, but I think it tells a lot about the mentality of myself and the people that work for this business.

The biggest thing Onetribe champions for is sustainable societies – specifically, personal and community self-sufficiency and sustainable food systems. We are a very vocal advocate of healthy local economies free of the grasp of federal and corporate hold, and vibrant local food systems where everyone is guaranteed free and fair access to healthy, locally produced food. Onetribe financially supports several non-profit organizations, including Austin, Texas based “Dinner Garden,” which sends seeds free of charge to anyone in the USA wanting to grow their own food, and the non-profit that I started called Renew Richmond, currently focused on working with the city public schools on programs designed to get at-risk youth into the garden growing their own food, working with members of the community and leaving school with a sense of self-purpose and skills that will enable them for the rest of their lives. We actively encourage our staff and customers to be active participants in community dialogue and action and try to lead by example. It’s great to say that we plant trees or recycle, etc. but when it comes down to it, getting your hands dirty or directly enabling someone else to do the same is the way to change things.

woodbaymarshallworkingMarhall working in the wood bay

Why don’t you tell  us a bit about your shop and staff?

The studio is an interesting place – combination workshop, retail showroom, educational space and event location where we participate in the local monthly art walk and showcase local art on our walls. The first thing you see when you walk into our non-descript street entrance in a formerly industrial warehouse district is the workshop immediately to your right, where you’ll likely see my wood man (Marshall Brown) turning wood jewelry and myself in the lapidary bay hand carving stone for custom work. As you progress pass the order filling and jewelry storage areas, you’ll enter the showroom, which looks more like gallery than a retail space. Virtually everything is either bamboo or reclaimed woods. The wall cases are framed in bamboo ply and backlit, and they’re mounted on walls covered in bamboo flooring. The floor displays are bamboo, steel and glass, and the reception area is built from eco-friendly plys, bamboo and trees that died of natural causes or fell during storms. We have a collection of tribal antiquities from around the world on display with the origins of each piece denoted on maps on the wall. There’s a resource library of books and journal articles on those cultures available for research and reference. The space is just as much about education as it is about selling things – from being able to hold the materials and learning why some are or aren’t ideal for your custom project, to learning about the roots of body modification, seeing examples of items we theme our pieces after and being able to come in and read texts about the history of body adornment, jewelry, and man’s connection with this earth. We are here to make the world a better place than it was when we arrived.

My staff is quite small, and we enjoy the marketplace agility and personalized atmosphere that comes from being small and having everyone overlap duties. Myself and Rachel make up the administrative side. Our newest hire Amanda Cleland has been doing a brilliant job holding down the back end with jewelry inventorying, order filling, and other useful tasks, and myself and Marshall are the two jewelry producers in our Richmond workshop. Rachel also switches gears every now and then to hand carve wood items for custom work. We all hold pretty similar views on social and political issues and are all activists in many different facets. We’re all modified in some way and we run the gamut from tattoos and piercings to scarification pieces, scalpel and punch work, you name it. Between the lot of us we have just about everything you could possibly put natural jewelry in, which comes in handy when we’re designing custom work and need to test fit a prototype’s shape or get feedback on design details.

handcarvingstationHand carving station

When did you start offering piercing, and what lead to taking that direction?

We started offering piercing by appointment when we opened the retail showroom in June 2009, and it was because we wanted to be able to show people the right way to do things. There are no 100% legit studios in our city as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to piercing, and particularly jewelry. I am a student of Zak Zito’s absolutely anal retentive feelings about material suitability and freehand work, and Onetribe’s ADORN studio is 100% titanium for initial procedures, with the exception of larger stuff in reputable glass. We started out with a piercer on staff and moved toward having the piercing room available as an asset to piercers, locally or traveling, that can uphold our standards in terms of jewelry and aseptic technique. We take appointments and assign projects to a short list of piercers based on the customer’s needs, and those piercers also take their own appointments and use our space as a safe, clean and professional venue for their own business. Our piercing volume is very low but I am far more concerned with quality over quantity, and piercing is provided as a service to our customers and not our primary focus.


How is your relationship with other jewelry companies?

Our relationship with other vendors is generally quite well. I’m a big fan of Anatometal and have been known to call and bug Barry about things every now and then. Him and I are also involved with a small group of other vendors in an informal industry business ethics forum where we all discuss copyrights, industry issues, etc. Jason Pfhol (Gorilla Glass) and Ana Paula (Quetzalli) are two people dear to Onetribe and we are working on different collaborative projects with both of them right now. Dy from Ebone Designs is a wonderful friend and aide during my travels in Indonesia and I’ve stayed at his house a few times. He has also donated several Southeast Asian pieces and books to our Eastern antiquities collection. I have talked with Adam at BVLA several times about various collaborative ideas and at one point we made a really beautiful Chiapas amber cabochon for a ring commissioned by one of their clients.


What does the future have in store for yourself and Onetribe?

Haha, well in the immediate future we’re just looking forward to warmer weather so we can open all of the doors and bays in the studio, and so I can start moving the lapidary setup back outside and make jewelry on the sidewalk again. Great way to make new friends and it’s always a blast when customers stop by to watch. Business wise, we’re hoping to continue growing in a very organic manner (no pun intended), taking on new customers with the help of our current customers and hiring new staff as needed. Into our eighth year and beyond, we are hoping to continue growing our showroom into an educational establishment and we have tossed around the idea of starting a non-profit to manage that aspect of our business and our continuing mission to research, collect artifacts and educate. We have started to completely digitize our antiquities collection with 360 degree views and cultural information and references, and examples of our reproductions, all tagged together in a handy database for people to learn from. This year we will start implementing some ideas we have in regard to getting anthropologists and archeologists into the studio for lectures that customers can attend (and we will hopefully be able to digitize those and add them to our site), and I have plans to teach a ‘primitive’ lapidary workshop where customers can see how ancient cultures turned hard stones such as jadeite into incredible jewelry with simple tools, sand and water, as well as doing knapping (particularly obsidian). I am also considering incorporating some of those original lapidary practices into limited edition custom pieces.

Innovation is what makes our business fun, and we will be constantly coming up with new design and assembly ideas, working in new materials and methods for producing our items and taking on a lot more unique custom work. We have plans to create a Onetribe ‘couture’ line and really go to town on the details when it comes to custom work. The plans include very robust customer back-ends with production photos for each customer’s project, more information and photographs about materials, videos of production and short segments about materials like labradorite, rainbow obsidian and opal that visually benefit from movement. Our goal overall is to create as personalized of an experience as we can for customers shopping on our site – we want it to feel like you’ve walked into the showroom and are talking to us about the things you are seeing. We have no interest in growing to the point where we are mass producing items and getting further removed from our customers – we want them to be more and more involved in the production of the jewelry that they are trusting us to create for their body modification journey.

I personally will be stepping back a little bit from my insane work/production schedule to focus more on anthropology research, and our more elaborate custom work (particularly with stones and ambers). I will definitely be spending more time working with my sustainable urban agriculture non-profit. I’m getting married in May, and if all goes well we will begin a family homestead & small organic farm business with a particular focus on supplying food to those who need it the most. I am also looking forward to more time for ethnobotanical research and the growing and collecting of native and exotic medicinal plants and entheogens, which I believe have played a very important part in human history and may go hand in hand with many of the body modification ceremonies and rituals practiced by cultures around the world.





From The Vault: The T-bar Piercing

The T-bar piercing was introduced to most of the piercing world by Tom Brazda,  a man who has always been on of the smartest and most innovative body piercers in the world. Since then several other piercers have experimented with and have had success with these as well. So how crazy is it that the most recent picture in the T-bar piercing gallery is from 2005? Sure for some piercings, you can get similar results with microdermals, like this one I posted not too long ago. However, it’s not the same, nor are the jewelry options.

The two most common body parts to get T-bar piercings have always been the nipple and the tongue. Yet, that type of jewelry and piercing could be used for so much more as well. Obviously, the T-bar tongue, could prove extremely detrimental to a persons teeth, but the nipple T-bar is still a cool, technical and different piercing that is just as viable today. There is also ear lobes, genitals and other body parts that could have a whole range of different variations on standard piercings using this type of jewelry.

So piercers of the world, get creative, I would love to see some new T-bar pictures added to this old gallery in 2010.


For a few more shots of T-bar piercings, keep on keeping on.

The T-bar tongue with  monofilament hoop as healing jewelry.


The tools used for the T-bar piercing. Keep in mind these pics are probably close to , if not over 10 years old.


Are these key rings implant grade metal?  Doubtful.

However it does show a different way to wear “jewelry” in a T-bar piercing.


Out of the pictures I posted this T-bar nipple seems to hold up the best by 2010 standards.


For a great interview with Tom shortly from back in the day that has a brief explanation of the tongue T-bar in this feature, go here.

This doesn’t belong on Modbog!

But it’s cold here and it’s supposed to snow this weekend, so it seemed appropriate.


For a few shots that justify this as a modblog post and the story behind it…oh you know what’s coming……..are you ready? Here it is…..keep on keeping on.



The pictures were taken by Rolf and the snowman was lifted by Mark’s nipple. Mark provided me with the following story surrounding this unusual “suspension”.

I am part of Constant Elevation, a suspension team here in London. During an event, at the end of the second day, there was no time for other suspensions, I would have want to suspend…but there was no time. The Snowman was around during the days, we found it in as a perk of the venue we were renting. The Snowman is actually polystyrene, but despite that is bloody heavy. I already hung different stuff from my nipples…Have a look at the new posts in my mod tracker (I have other pics of weird stuff hanging from my nipple). I just tied the snowman with and easy double knot and then rig it to a block and tackle (triple). I then use a piece of rope we use for suspension and connect it to my plastic nipple piercing.
The plastic nipple piercing is good because it has a fast release and in case everything it is too heavy it will break before tearing your nipple apart. Once I linked everything…everything was done. It was too heavy I have to say, the block and tackle helps.