Needle Talk - Nikki Lloyd-Proctor / Twit Twoo Tattoo January 19, 2016 10:13
Welcome to the fourth instalment of Needle Talk our monthly blog series that tells you everything you need to know about yours, and our, favourite piercers and body modification artists.
Ever wondered what your piercers first body mod was? Or what their strangest request has been? This is your time to find out. This series is a monthly dose of all things modified and a chance to get to know the people behind the needle.
We've a great list of piercers and body modification artists lined up in the coming months and if you would like to see your piercer or body mod artist featured then get it touch, we'd love to hear from you.
Our newest instalment of Needle Talk is with Nikki co-owner and piercer at Twit Twoo Tattoo in Edinburgh, Scotland. Twit Twoo opened in 2012. The studio has 4 resident tattoo artists including Nikki's husband Alan. Aside from Nikki the studio also has a piercing apprentice Kate and studio assistant Kayleigh (who is Nikki's right hand and confesses is the one to keep her sanity in check!). Twit Twoo also offer scarification and NFC tag implants alongside standard and advanced piercing techniques.
Nikki is a QualiTi Body Jewellery sponsored artist (QualiTi as we have mentioned in a previous post are a UK based company striving to provide the industry with high quality, implant grade body jewellery, some of which is available here).
Outside of piercing Nikki's loves are her two fur babies - her rag-doll cats. Nikki likes to turn up the heat in the kitchen and experiment with new tastes, and of course she has a passion for bespoke jewellery.
Nikki describes herself as a homely girl with a love for pretty things but "can be a pretty fiery Scottish bird when she needs to be!".
Here is Nikki's interview, enjoy.
Emba Mods: Who are you?
Nikki: Nikki Lloyd-Proctor.
Emba Mods: Where do you work?
Nikki: I co-own and work at Twit Twoo Tattoo, Leith Walk, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Emba Mods: When did you get your first body mod and what was it?
Nikki: My dad took me to have my lip pierced when I was 14. I begged for so long and after a few knock backs, cheeky smiles and flutter of the eyelashes off we went. I've always been a daddies girl haha.
Emba Mods: What job title do you give yourself?
Nikki: I'm a body piercer first and foremost. I just wish when the general public ask they wouldn't follow my answer with the question...do you just do piercings or do you tattoo as well? I think I speak for most professional piercers out there in saying it's enough to be getting on with in its own right.
Emba Mods: How long have you been a piercer?
Nikki: I started piercing in April 2008, and since opening the studio I have completed further training with Mac McCarthy (Dr Evil) to now offer scarification.
Emba Mods: What do you love the most about your job?
Nikki: The fact that I get to do it every day. I love the trust that people put in me to work on their bodies. Whether it's cutting a scar design or piercing their skin to help them realise their dream aesthetic. I am massively humbled by those who visit my studio on a recommendation of other clients and it's even more wonderful when they share my passion for beautiful quality jewellery.
Emba Mods: What would you be if you weren't a piercer?
Nikki: I would want to work in colour or art therapy. I completed BSc Psychology before I started piercing.
Emba Mods: Do you do your own body mods?
Nikki: No. I completely froze trying to pierce my own ears, there are other industry professionals I would trust to do my piercing and mods.
Emba Mods: What is your favourite piercing to do?
Nikki: I couldn't pick just one I have so many. I love doing micro dermals, philtrums, septums and various ear combinations. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't love it all.
Emba Mods: What is your least favourite piercing to do?
Nikki: I think the ones I get anxious about are things like paired nostrils, cheeks and anything that needs to give the illusion of symmetry when we all know the human body is anything but symmetrical. I don't dislike them but they do make me push myself harder.
Emba Mods: Are there any body mods you want to do but haven't done yet?
Nikki: Yes, lots more modification procedures on my list but all in good time. I want to perfect my techniques in what I can do now before I take on any more responsibilities.
Emba Mods: Do you prefer projects or individual piercings?
Nikki: I like to do both. Where anatomy allows, several piercings perfectly executed to suit the placement will make for a beautiful project. However, one very simple piercing with can compliment an area with the use of the right jewellery without needing to overcrowd the area with multiples.
Emba Mods: Whose work in the body modification industry inspires you?
Nikki: There are loads of people whose work inspires me, piercing wise the UK and Scotland have so many amazing people working hard to gain the industry the respect it deserves. There are so many, too many to mention everyone but a few of my daily inspirations include the amazing Rick Gilmour in BC, Lola at Forevermore in Glasgow & Nicole at LoveHate London. Seeing their work on my media feeds makes me want to push myself to try new techniques and strive to produce a better piercing with each new one I do. Practice makes perfect.
Emba Mods: What has been your strangest request?
Nikki: Nothing too strange. I did a few play surface piercings for a guy doing a student project, he interlocked his wrist and hip piercings to temporarily restrain himself for a photoshoot. The piercings were done on the Friday and he came back the following day to have them removed.
Emba Mods: What is the most regular piercing you get asked for?
Nikki: It changes all the time. One week it seems everyone wants their septum done, the next it's all about the daith.
Emba Mods: What is the most uncommon piercing you get asked for?
Nikki: I haven't done a transverse lobe, haven't had the opportunity so I guess that for me is the most uncommon.
Emba Mods: Do you have any studio rituals?
Nikki: Not so much ritual as is routine. I have a pretty strict cleaning schedule of - AM set up and PM breakdown. I'm a bit of a germaphobe, nothing can be too clean. We unfortunately had a break in during our first year of opening, the forensic team didn't find any traces of bacteria, they never even found our finger prints on the scene. I'm quite proud of that.
Emba Mods: Do you have any advice for people wanting to get into the industry?
Nikki: Work hard and don't be soft, it's not an easy job to get into. If your lucky enough to be mentored by someone amazing and reputable, strive to be better than them, listen to critique and learn from those better/more experienced than you.
Nikki: Nah, there's plenty I wouldn't get but I'm not squeemish when it comes to mods, finding a sneaky bogey during a nose piercing is way worse.
Emba Mods: What are your thoughts on the CIEH (Chartered Institute for Environmental Health) tattoo & body piercing rating scheme?
Nikki: My environmental health officials are really strict, that's all fine and well when it comes down to hygiene, however they don't have any way of determining how technically capable people in the industry are. Experienced doesn't mean capable. I believe they should seek advisors from within the industry, experienced professionals working within the well established APP, and members of the future UKAPP to gain more of an understanding about what safe practice is and why things like minimum jewellery standards are just as important as a clean practice when granting licences. I also believe the CIEH should have to make any complaints or marks against an operator or studio public. Something like a public notice on site this would allow the public to make an educated decision on whether to enter premesis and allow these hackers to pierce them. It might also encourage these people to either improve their standards or just quit!
Emba Mods: What irritates you about the industry?
Nikki: The lack of respect it has from some of the public. The result of bad t.v shows perhaps making us look like jokers playing with skin, laughing at people's mistakes rather than pointing out the dangers of "piercing parties" and hack artists using ill fitting jewellery and questionable materials.
Emba Mods: Any news in the industry that excites you?
Nikki: The association of professional piercers in the UK The UKAPP (United Kingdom Association of Professional Piercers) at the moment is a small and still forming group of like minded people who want to promote safe piercing, who want a minimum standard of implant grade jewellery for initial piercing implemented nation wide and in general want to bring people in the industry together to offer a network of advice, seminars and support to those working in the UK.
Emba Mods: What are your industry predictions in the coming years?
Nikki: It's becoming more and more popular, so if it keeps going I believe over the next few years there will be more UK professional piercers and body modification specialists working together to help local councils understand how to school the industry and hopefully at a national level our government will recognise us as a serious profession. I think we would all like to see a decrease in problem studios, apprentices teaching apprentices, better experience, safer piercing practices using only high quality materials.
Emba Mods: Any advice for people thinking of getting body mods/piercings?
Nikki: Research your piercer, check recommendations, look at healed work, ask about sterilisation procedures, where the jewellery comes from, are implant safe materials being used and don't scrimp for quality. You are having your skin pierced/cut/punctured. Immediately this is attacking your immune system and jewellery is a forgein body that naturally your body wants to reject. So make sure the person who is doing your procedure is doing it to a high standard in every aspect.
Emba Mods: Where can people find you?
Emba Mods: Any final words?
Nikki: Smile... It confuses people xox.