Designing The Brands

The line drawings are the figures I gave Fakir. The originals are petroglyphs from the Marquesas Islands, and I adapted them slightly, most changing the size ratios to each other.

The graphic line drawing were the ones Fakir emailed back to me. Brands are almost always single line figures, as they spread as they heal, and complex shapes can easily become blobs.

Fakir suggested that we do the first two figures, the "Me" and "Myself" petroglyphs as multi-strike brands, and execute the "I" petroglyph with the electro-cautery technique. By using the finer technique, and enlarging the figure another 10% or so, he felt we could do the double lines. I agreed, and Fakir spent most of the night before and the morning of the branding making the tiny striking pieces.


Tiny paper versions of the glyphs were held up to my leg and moved around until we found a placement that seemed to work. Fakir pointed out areas where he felt the skin was better to take the brand, and I wanted the shapes to echo the flow of the ink lines tattooed on my chest. We found a nice placement that was slightly curvilinear. The designs were then transferred to my leg exactly the same way that tattoos get transferred: spirit paper. This special paper looks and feels like a tissue paper, but acts slightly like a carbon paper. When a design is traced on one side with pencil, a carbon-like pattern forms on the back. You shave the area to be branded, apply a thin smearing of Mennen Speed Stick (activates the spirit paper), and apply the spirit paper. Voila! You get a purple outline of your design. Tiny registration marks with pen insures exact placement.


I climbed up onto the massage table. Fakir positioned my leg so that the branding area was in the best position, then wedged me there precisely with tons of photo sandbags. Not only do the sandbags immobilize the limb, they also form a solid base for Fakir to brace his arms to achieve clean strikes. The branding maps were brought over for the first character, and Neo stood by with the propane torch. Fakir uses pliers to hold the pieces, dipping each one into water to cool it after each strike. We then proceeded to strike the "Me" petroglyph.

Check out this body art!

Content © 1998-2009 ReLâCHE/Rachel Schwarz
Neither images nor written content may be reproduced elsewhere without express written permission.