What got you into hook suspension?
I remember seeing pictures of suspensions in the mid 90’s as I was going through my piercing apprenticeship. I was immediately intrigued. However, being from Omaha, it wasn’t something I ever thought I’d be able to actually do myself and, like a lot of people, assumed there was no way I’d be able to get through it if I did. Fast forward to 2004 and that all changed. The shop I was working for at the time was doing a grand-opening party for a new location and after plans started to come together , I heard there was going to be someone there doing suspensions and I jumped all over the chance. So I suspended 4pt suicide with 8g Mustads. And just like I’ve seen happen time and time again, I was immediately sure that this was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to me. I remember walking back inside after coming down and just a blur of people congratulating me and friends/family standing there shaking their heads, and just feeling………, fuck, I don’t know how to say it to this day. Basically, “FUCK everything else, this is the most REAL thing I have ever done” One thing worth mentioning is, my brother Pat (my business partner in all things MECCA) was there for me the entire day. He was there keeping me calm before I took my hooks, walking me out to the stage, never leaving my side until he had to, but still right there for me to look at and right back at my side after coming down. I realized a lot that day and our relationship has never been stronger.
It was on that walk inside that I KNEW that I had to share this gift I’d been given was something that I had to share and tirelessly sought out education to become a practitioner. In 2004 this was not nearly as easy as it is today. After almost three years of searching I applied for and was approved for attendance to The Art of Human Suspension Seminar that was presented by Professional Piercing Information Systems (PPIS) and was taught by Allen Falkner, Erik Dakota and Jared Anderson. Upon completion of the 4 day course and attending the subsequent NorCal SusCon, I returned to Omaha and started the ball rolling on what would become HOOKED Suspension Team. Read the rest of this entry »
Priscilla is a performance artist for Ritual Flesh Suspension Team, The Beggar’s Carnivale, The Randy Dandies, Grit Boy Productions (also a producer there), Hung Like a Martyr, Subversion, and many more. She is in love with the fun, cheeky art of human pincushion. Her typical performances include piercings, crowd participation, the bed of nails and other mayhem. She regularly hook suspends for performances. I’ve always loved her work, and recently I got a chance to chat with her about her work with suspension specifically. She had the following to say:
I did my first suspension when I was 18, a two point chest suspension that went horribly wrong as it was with a practitioner that didn’t know what he was doing. Fast forward 6 years later (may 5, 2013), I decided to try again. I did a 6 point knee with people that knew what they were doing. I haven’t looked back since officially starting. I’ve done 10 suspensions, 2 attempted suspensions (couldn’t shut off the brain), and one pull with a couple of the team mates, pulling another team mate into his chest suspension.
Are you on a team?
What is your role?
I started as a performer. I now do all booking for St. Louis, MO shows and public events. I also work as a piercer and do bio after getting my certifications.
What is your favourite position to suspend in?
Knees. My current obsession is belly hooks, as my knees are pretty chewed up right now.
What are some of the things you struggle with?
Turning my mind off to relax into certain positions, with how the chest suspension went, it’s hard to not think about things going wrong, even when I know they won’t with the experience levels I work with now also I struggle with not doing too many back to back! I’m FINALLY starting to relax. I think it has a lot to do with changing a lot of my life.
What do you like the most about it?
Everything! Mostly, the family I’ve obtained through it. They’re amazing!! Also the mental challenges, it saved my mental health and it improved my physical health greatly. Love it!!!
Tell me about some of your suspensions?
The most challenging was a tandem I did at Mecca… I did an inverted lotus with my team mate, Rain Bow Dash, hanging from me in a lotus with Steeve Easley of Release. It was awesome, but incredibly painful and also I couldn’t turn my brain off. My first outdoor suspension was recently with a.g.r.o. Springfield and I did my knees. Ritual Flesh, my team has given me quite a few very enjoyable suspensions and challenges: knees, forearms, a beautiful modified hammock, suicides, an angel, and a few attempts at resurrections. I finally did a successful resurrection with Anchors Aweigh at Mecca… Mecca was a busy weekend
Tell a bout your future goals.
So many! Suspend with more people, more tandems, cut downs, free falls, and definitely more outdoor and some guerrilla suspensions!!!!!! Also I plan to attend as many Suscons as possible, and learn all possible parts of suspension.
Hook love ♡
Tell me about your journey into hook suspension in general; why you got into it, and how long have you been in the industry personally and professionally.
I became fascinated with suspension, as cliché as it sounds, from the Discovery Channel. It was 1992 and I was around the age of twelve. I can’t recall the specific title for the show, but what I saw were people bearing Kavadi, marching through the streets with hooks in their back as they lunged forward only to be pulled back equally as hard by a group following… as well as a couple suspended from poles being carried through the procession. That was the first time I felt what could be described as desire. Not long after I was able to find a copy of Modern Primitives (at the Clark County Library in Las Vegas). I read the book till the glued in binding split in multiple areas. About 4 years later I was able to get into a horrible apprenticeship for piercing. I spent the next 5 years repairing all the improper training I was given while still in search of someone to grant me my first suspension. It was not as easy to find people back then. It wasn’t until late 2000 that I was able to get in contact with someone near me, Brandon Bond. I suspended in a superman position for my 21st b-day in a now defunct dungeon in Las Vegas. 10 hooks thrown one at a time. The flight time was around 3 hours. And to be honest, I was quite disappointed. I did not get any visions, no euphoria, not a damn thing I had read about from others experiences. But it did give me something, and I have still not been able to explain it in words. It’s been 18 years since that I have worked on and off as a piercer now and nearly 14 years since my first suspension.
Tell me about your work specifically with transitional Suspension. I want to know about your experimentation, suspensions you have done, good and bad, what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown and how you continue to grow.
Transitional suspensions, I’ve done a few. The first time I tried a transition was from a suicide to knees, then cut to a single knee. For a good year it’s all I wanted to do… I had heard of Supa attempting a large amount of transitions sometime ago and had made it through seven. I had never done that many, but I wanted to shoot for a nice round number… “10″. About a month before the 2007 SWSuscon in New Mexico I contacted Steve Truitt about trying to see how many transitions I could go through at the event. I had worked it all out. I still refer to it as the “wringer”. The closer that the time comes to something you have committed to, the more it seems to look like a bad idea. That was the last time I did a multiple transition in a session, and a learning experience. It was this suspension where hook direction played a major part. If someone were to do a 10+ transition today, most likely Gilson or Blacksheep hooks would be used. Specifically with Blacksheep hooks, the direction in which the hook is thrown is not as important as the closing of the hook prevents any hook slippage. I wish such products were available back then. I have since moved away from transitional suspensions and moved onto cut-away and full rotational suspensions.
Can you explain to me some of your innovations for suspension, and talk to me about cut aways and drops in hooks.
Well, I’m pretty sure I was the first person to hit 10 transitions during a session. After that session I was told by Shannon that one suspension I had done was new, The Falling Angel. Later I was able to name it as such. The cut-away suspensions I was inspired to do by two people: Allen and Samar. I had seen an act titled “Hurt” where Allen cuts away from a “resi” and falls into a suicide position. I later witnessed Samar doing the same act at the 2007 NorCal Suscon. I tried the same act a couple of times(with best wishes from Allen). From there I was constantly trying other cut-away’s, mainly on Jamie Mayhem because she is tough as nails. For TRAUMA 2012 I wanted to do something to really shock the crowd, as well as all the aerialists performing that evening. The cut-away front flip. And this year at Mecca I did a different variation, where I wind up as you would using aerial silks or straps, then fall forward in to a flip, or a “Salto Drop”.
Tell me something in regards to hooks that challenges you. What do you fight with and struggle through.
What challenges me is finding something new in the suspension community today that catches “my” eye. The Sinner Team in Russia took free falling to a whole new level between the bridges, tower jumps and now doing flips into a para-suspension base jump. That’s inspiration!!! Mr. Wipple pushing through 24 hours on hooks was amazing. The ornate rigging I have seen between Dallas and Mecca this year left me in awe. The up and coming “ORBITRON” suspensions to take place in Dallas this year…. Now that’s inspiring. Two minutes in that thing will be like doing 200 transitions.
Tell me about your biggest accomplishment on hooks.
As lame as it may sound, my biggest accomplishment was doing my first suspension. The ease and disappointment coming into focus at the same time. Staring your future, 10 years away (your biggest mistakes and all), directly in the face. The accomplishment was having direction in where I wanted to go.
Tell me about why you do performance suspension, what does it mean for you. What is the most challenging part?
I do performance because I always liked being on stage in front of crowds since I was young. There is a rush I get. The challenging part today for me is to put on an awesome show and not kill myself in the process for people’s entertainment. This being the case I am adjusting my role in how our shows operate. My focus has been geared towards handling all the other behind the scenes activities (rigging, stage managing, and engineering) that goes along with larger scale events I already do along with performance…. with a little surprise from me every so often.
What does 2014 look like for you. Any exciting performances or shows or plans in the works?
For 2014 I see a huge show at TRAUMA, a few Suscons, hopefully smaller get-togethers…. Maybe a few “Bad Ideas” as well.
Everyone hook suspends for their own reasons. Some people suspend because it’s bad ass, others because of spirituality and some just for the fun of it. Whatever the reason, I personally always get chills watching videos and looking at photos of suspendees. Energy from hook suspension is pure, loud and beautiful. I came across the photos of Tiana suspending earlier in 2013 and I loved what she had to say about her experience and I loved the energy that came from her photos. I instantly wanted to chat with her about her experiences. So I sent her a message and here’s a bit of what she had to say:
What got you into hook suspension?
I knew what suspension was growing up by what TV shows on National Geographic showed me. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I spent a lot of time on IAM/BME where I was exposed to a completely different world. I read so many experiences and ogled at photos and videos on the site. I knew I had to try it. There were no doubts in my mind, I knew it would be exactly what I needed.
In 2008 I was able to suspend for the first time when my friend Evan (who I met through BME) let me know there would be private suspension sign ups with CoRE. I did a 4 point suicide and had two of my friends come with me for support. I fell in love instantly. I stayed up for about an hour and didn’t even realize it. Time had just flown by and it didn’t even matter. I had such a positive first time that I’ll never forget. Then of course when I came down, I already wanted to go back up.
Are you part of a team? What is your role?
I’m not a member of a team but the Southern California chapter of CoRE has done most of my suspensions. They are all incredible people who make each experience memorable. I cannot thank them enough for what they’ve done.
Tell me about your favorite suspension
They all mean so much to me but I did an Autumn Equinox resurrection with CoRE in the Angeles forest. I have never done one outdoors and to connect with nature and to take in all of my surroundings was absolutely exhilarating. There is nothing else quite like it.
I chose a resurrection because I had done one in the past but wanted to give it another try as I found it challenging yet rewarding. When I think back about the way my hair moved in the wind, the sound of the birds chirping, and the blood trickling down my torso, I get the chills.
There was no music, just perfect stillness around me. I didn’t want to swing or spin. I just wanted to hang there and revel in the beauty around me. To center myself and restore the balance in my life.
One moment that stood out to me was when I was facing everyone and shut my eyes. As I drifted away in my head space, I felt as if someone had moved me because I felt my body turn. I had figured it was probably a CoRE member or maybe a friend. But when I opened my eyes, I had a beautiful view of the mountain range. It was breathtaking! It was the wind that had moved me and it brought the biggest smile to my face to see what was in front of me. It’s so incredible that a gust of wind could mean so much when you’re suspending.
CoRE was amazing at taking such great care of me. When I came down, I was trembling and smiling. When my feet touched the dirt, I felt an intense connection to the earth. Like a surge of elemental energy just shot up and down my body. Although I had a clear mind with no intentions going into it, I came down a changed woman. Both my emotional and spiritual self have evolved.
What do you enjoy about hook suspending?
I enjoy the connections and the energy that are felt between you and those around you. You put your trust in others and completely open yourself up to them and become vulnerable. It’s a truly humbling experience. Especially when your loved ones are present, it makes it that much more positive. I particularly love being able to hold onto someone while suspending. The bond that forms between the two is beautiful. I have become instantly connected with those I have met prior to the suspension, it’s that strong.
I love pushing my own limits. I love challenging myself and seeing the strength that was in me all along. Whether it’s trying a new position or remaining calm and relaxed while putting the body through physical trauma. We give our bodies such a hard time through harsh critiques and always wanting to change something about them. But they are so beautiful and are capable of withstanding so much. That has always fascinated me about suspension.
I love that each time is a learning experience whether it be good or bad. I don’t like to go in with goals in mind because I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment. I just let everything flow. With challenging positions, I do want to take myself somewhere else but I never set a destination. I just keep myself open and willing.
I love everything about it from the minute you take that deep breath before the hook goes in to the scar that it leaves behind. I can honestly say that I am no longer looking for that “missing piece” in my life. I found just what I was looking for through suspension. It almost feels like my flesh is meant to have hooks in it.
What are some of your future goals?
I have only done private suspensions for very close friends and would love to perform for a public audience. I’ve heard so many great things about the energy from a crowd and I must try it. I want to connect with those around me and take them to the head space that I’m in if that makes sense. I want to show them the serene side and how tranquility can be found amongst chaos. I’m not really into it for shock value or the sideshow aspect of it. While that works wonderful for others, it’s not for me.
I would also love to do a guerrilla-style suspension. I find myself always looking at bridges, structures, and such and wondering what it would be like to fly from it.
Another goal of mine is to one outdoors in my hometown on the island of Maui. To connect with where I was born would be very powerful. To breathe in that fresh, sweet air as my feet are lifted up from the island soil would mean the world to me.
Tell me about some of your suspensions.
I did a 2 point suicide with Gilsons for the first time this October and it was amazing. Gilsons are very comfortable especially while spinning and moving around a lot. Having just done a calming and intense resurrection, I chose to do one where I could just spin around to some of my favorite songs and enjoy it. Once I started spinning, I just couldn’t stop! I felt so giddy as if it were my first time all over again. Suicides bring me into this childlike state where there is so much wonder and excitement.
I recently did my first coma for Winter Solstice with CoRE and it was the most emotional suspension I’ve had to date. I wanted to give up my entire body and I figured that the coma would be the perfect position for it. As it’s still very fresh, I am still reeling in from the experience and I’m trying to put everything together.
All I know is that from start to finish, it couldn’t have been more perfect. The piercing held all the weight evenly so it was very comfortable. I didn’t want to come down! I learned so many things about myself in that amount of time, it became overwhelming. It’s almost as if every little emotion, fear, and desire came to surface all at once. I started to tear up at moments and currently find myself breaking down in tears out of sheer happiness and joy. There is still so much to learn but I am loving my journey so far.
Names to go by: Tiana or Tiana Marie
My personal links:
CoRE site: http://www.wearecore.com/
Waylay Suspension force is a upbeat, easy going hook suspension team from Brisbane Australia. Founded by Waylay Jake the team has been facilitating a wide range of suspension since 2010. Waylay Jake began his journey into hook suspension with Polymorph Piercing Studio in Sydney Australia. He did several suspension projects with them while gathering his own supplies and building his team in Brisbane. Presently the team gets together as often as they can to put together everything from simple and basic get togethers to large scale extravagant art projects. Their aim in 2014 is to push and expand the Australian hook culture to new heights.
I knew hook suspension was a “thing” but I had only seen it in b-list horror movies depicted as something horrible and deadly. I guess the images from Horsemen were just burned so deep into my head that every time I heard something about suspension I wanted to hide. So when I was in the local hookah shop and my friend Bandaid (Josh Saxon) asked me to come watch his suspension team, Ritual Flesh Suspension Team, the following night for their New Year’s Eve party I started throwing out every excuse as to why I shouldn’t be there including, “I’ll barf! Do you want barf in your back holes?” He won the argument and I agreed to check it out. NYE came and there I stood among other curious minds and supporters of this practice I knew so little about. When I watched the first girl leave the ground the energy in the room was overwhelming in the best possible way. It was at that moment that I began to fall in love with hook suspension. While 24 hours earlier I was horrified by the idea, all it took for me to change everything I felt was seeing suspension in person, seeing someone overcome their fear, overcome the pain of leaving the ground and what they’ve always known. I left that night knowing that I needed to experience that rush. I deserved to experience that. I have this body and although I knew I was strong I needed to test my strength, and so on February 2nd, I did just that.
What got you into hook suspension?
I first encountered it through the BDSM community. I did my first hook pull at a kink event in February of 2007 and it was an incredible and powerful experience. Then a friend of mine was organizing a spiritual retreat weekend that included some flesh rituals and such later that summer and I did my first suspension there. Once I did my first suspension, there was really no going back.
How long have you been in the industry?
I had helped with some of the piercing stuff at my friend’s event over the years, so was able to gain some experience and knowledge there, but not enough to be confident to suspend others. Becoming part of a suspension team was incredible for me, and has really helped me learn and grow a lot. I attended Dallas Suscon this year and seeing so many incredible suspensions really opened up my mind and made me fall in love with suspension all over again.
You can read the whole post here: http://www.suspension.org/hooklife/hook-suspension-interview-snook-tammy/