Corset piercing is often done down the back and laced together, imitating a traditional corset but, explains Laura Hunt, who owns Dragstrip Tattoo and Piercing Studio in Bitterne: “Wherever you can pinch the skin you can do it.”
Other areas of the body where people may have corset piercing are down either side of the ribs, arms, the back of the legs or, in the case of Ant Evans, who went under Laura’s piercing needle, the front of your neck.
Deliberately wounding yourself in the name of fashion – and for a temporary effect at that – may sound bizarre to the uninitiated, but Laura says that for those in the tattooing and piercing business it’s pretty run of the mill.
“For people in the industry it’s a standard thing – it’s just a surface piercing – but for everyday people I imagine it’s seen as extreme.”
More unusual body modifications include placing silicone under the skin to create raised effects, branding, scarring and even transdermal implants, which leave spikes protruding through the skin with attachments such as spikes or horns added.
Although corset piercing is relatively tame, Laura says people often struggle to find a piercer to do the work, and her customers often find her via forums.
Judith Ashton-Sparkles, 35, an apprentice body piercer, whose back Laura corset-pierced, says reactions tend to be polarised.
“Some people said it was cool and other people were shocked. A woman in a queue behind me turned her back completely so she couldn’t see it. Most people said: ‘I wouldn’t do it, but wow.’”
Judith says that while it was painful having the 12 piercings done – “it made my toes curl a bit” – and could be uncomfortable, she would definitely have it done again.
“I’m thinking about having dermal piercings done in my back rather than surface piercings because they’re more permanent. I’d like it for the summer.
I’ve got a couple of festivals I’m going to and you get your skin out so I’m thinking about it. It looks pretty – well, I think it looks pretty.
“I did miss my corset when I had it taken out. I like how it looks and the effect it has – people’s reactions. It’s quite interesting.”
Ant says he’s keen to get another, more complicated corset piercing, and is on the look-out for a suitable event to have it done for.
Laura says she would like to get it done again, too.
“Tattoos and piercings are just a way of decorating your body,” she says.
“If I get a new piercing or tattoo, it’s like someone else getting a new haircut. It’s just a way of changing the way you look and improving yourself, in your eyes.”
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