Tumblr is where tens of millions of creative people around the world share and follow the things they love.Sign up to find more cool stuff to follow
A Brief Interview With Jim Ward
Recently we were lucky enough to have a special guest at headquarters without whom the piercing industry would not be what it is today, and were very excited to sit down with him for a few minutes and ask him a handful of questions about his life and his newly published book, Running The Gauntlet:
Anatometal: We don’t want to give away too much of what you have written in your book, but could briefly tell us how you first because interested in body piercing?
Jim Ward: It was in the late sixties in New York City, and I came across an article in a magazine about a man who had made an ocean voyage and pierced his ears to mark the event. That article just set something off in me and I had to pierce my ears but it didn’t stop there. In discovering my sexuality, I found that I liked nipple play and thought “wouldn’t it be great to have pierced nipples”. The fantasy just wouldn’t go away so I got a push pin and a wine bottle cork and pierced my nipples. Of course at this point piercing was very closeted and I had never heard of anyone else doing this until one night when I went out to one of the leather bars in New York along the waterfront. There at the bar, was a bare chested man with his nipples pierced as well and I knew I wasn’t alone.
Anatometal: What brought you to write this book?
Jim Ward: It was a story that I needed to tell. When the business went under there was so much pain and so much hurt, I needed to get it out. So many of the younger generation did not seem to know the history. It was important to me and it was cathartic. It let me put it all behind me.
Anatometal: Why did you choose the name “The Gauntlet”?
Jim Ward: When Doug Malloy proposed the start of the business and we were looking for a name, Doug was leaning towards something with mythological undertones. I was watching TV and glanced at my watch. The band was leather with pyramid studs and it reminded me of a gauntlet. It just clicked; it was masculine and rugged. It also related to a challenge, like “thrown down the gauntlet” and an ordeal as in “running the gauntlet”. It just seemed appropriate for a business.
Anatometal: How did you come up with the designs for the body jewelry you were producing?
Jim Ward: I found inspiration in many different places. The Bead Ring was a modification of an existing earring design. The Barbells for example, the first were German made, were another piece we wanted to change. I was duplicating and improving. Many of the more aesthetic designs however, were my own creations. We were always looking for how the jewelry affected the healing of the piercing as well. The Nipple Retainer worked well in practice but has not been reproduced as far as I know.
Anatometal: What was your favorite memory that was re-lived through writing the book?
Jim Ward: Discovering piercing; this was really important to me. I loved making the jewelry and doing the piercing itself. I loved the challenge. I was venturing into unknown territory. No one had gone there before, it was like I was an explorer. It was all uncharted territory.
Anatometal: Did you ever think body piercing would become so main stream?
Jim Ward: Not to this degree, no. I anticipated it would grow which it clearly did but I had no clue. After the publication of Modern Primitives the landscape changed over night. Everyone wanted to be involved.
Anatometal: If there is one thing you would want your readers to walk away with after finishing Running The Gauntlet, what would that be?
Jim Ward: Follow your dreams and do it responsibly. We enjoy so much freedom, the flip side is responsibility. The greater the freedom, the greater the responsibility.
Broken Songs Feat. Tegan QuinJim Ward
Jim Ward - Broken Songs Feat. Tegan Quin
I’m not too comfortable to fall from the start
When it gets too intimate, then I fall apart
Sparta / Collapse
you know when he falls apart
he listens in the dark to records turn
i’ll never learn