Erie Faces Erie: December 7, 1016
Missy Twohig: owner, Sacred Piercing
"I find it humbling that people would come to me and trust me, no matter what their reason is for the piercing."
Ed Bernik: In our culture, piercing may still be foreign to many people. There are a lot of reasons to have a piercing – religious, spiritual, medical, or for self-expression. What is your belief system or mindset behind piercing?
Missy Twohig: Piercing started long ago with many different tribes as part of a sacred ceremony, and we adopted it into our Western culture for various reasons. Our mindset is to provide clients with a positive experience from the moment they walk in the door. I see all the positives that come out of piercing, and think it's cool that people come to us and trust us to put a needle into their body, and put jewelry on them. That's where our name originates from. Mutual trust is the sacred part of that. When people come into the shop, I want to treat them the way I want to be treated. I find it humbling that people would come to me and trust me, no matter what their reason is for the piercing. And it's the whole process of the piercing – seeing them happy, and then the follow-up for questions or to check the piercing. It's part of the process of human interaction.
EB: What's the theme of your studio?
MT: We offer professional body piercing in an atmosphere that is welcoming to everyone. Many times, people come in nervous. We have set up a calming atmosphere in the studio, from the color of the walls to music, to create a peaceful, meditative environment. We keep it earthy and about being real with people and giving them a good experience.
EB: I have never been in a piercing studio before. Entering, it was almost like walking into a gallery. Talk about the unique jewelry you guys have.
MT: We custom fit jewelry to accommodate everyone's needs. There's something for everyone. We carry a wide variety of implant grade titanium jewelry, 18k and 14k gold, glass, bone, horn, and locally made wood jewelry. These all come in many shapes and sizes. Clients also have the option of personally customizing their jewelry.
We try to hit every part of the spectrum with people's tastes. When we opened nine years ago, I wasn't sure if we would be able to maintain it as just a piercing studio, but it just kept getting busier and busier. We've been very successful.
EB: If somebody was considering a piercing, what would you tell them?
MT: Call to set up an appointment for a consultation, where we can answer any questions, discuss the placement, and make sure their anatomy is suitable for a certain piercing. We then show them all of the jewelry options that we offer for that particular piercing. For some people who are going through changes in their lives, this may be an area of expression for them. For other people, it's like reclaiming their body after some event like an illness or a divorce. We pierce for people of all ages. We have pierced for young people and for people in their 70s and 80s.
EB: I noticed you have other people's artwork in your studio. What is your reason for displaying others' works?
MT: We believe in supporting local artists. Some have no place to display their work so we offer up our walls to showcase them. It's all about community.
Missy Twohig: sacredpiercing.com
Ed Bernik: bernikphotography.com