Flogging workshop and first-time Kabunza trade stand at the BBB

Whenever I am asked to host a workshop, give tuition or give a demonstration, I always leap at the chance. It is incredibly rewarding and I truly believe that one of the best things anyone with a well practiced skill can do for the BDSM community is to pass on their knowledge to willing students safely. There are a lot of people out there who are reckless (even dangerous) but teach their activities anyway, (often simply to stroke their own egos) despite how unsafe it may be. It can sometimes be very confusing or even scary enough to put people off trying or learning new things. My recommendation to anyone taking advice from anyone on any BDSM activity is to do a little research into the competence of the person(s) giving out their information and also briefly on the subject matter in question (be it flogging, whips, shibari or any BDSM skill) using that magical tool: The internet. Trust me, for the safety of both yourself and those you play with, it never hurts to do a little research and anyone with real knowledge or skill will be apparent from the tat.

I tend to be very hands-on and interactive in my workshops; I like people to ask questions, I like people to talk to me about their own experiences so that I can explain or perhaps even learn something new myself (nobody ever stops learning) and I always try to get people out of their seats to physically practice anything I am trying to teach. Actual practice of any skill makes perfect and I think being able to actively talk people through and demonstrate safely as they are attempting new skills tends to alleviate a very large portion of simple first-time learning hiccups.

Having said that; I am happy to say that the flogging workshop at the Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar received some wonderful feedback and comments. It seemed as though everyone had a wonderful time and I cannot express how rewarding it is to watch people putting their new-found teachings into practice over the course of an event (having a room full of flying florantining floggers can be an incredibly fun thing to watch).

Even the lovely Mistress Victoria from Uberkinky (who was a pleasure to finally meet face to face) wrote a sparkling review of the experience, which you can read on her website blog: Here.

In response to the many people who have asked me to do some Youtube videos and tutorials: I do hope to get some made eventually, but it is finding someone who would be willing to film me and has decent enough equipment and software to do so. It will be done, it is just a question of time and expense (anyone wishing to participate in this kind of project, please feel free to contact me).

And to answer the question that so many people directed at me about my collection of floggers at the workshop: The straight handled floggers were from Jack’s Floggers, The ball handled floggers were from Jack’s floggers and Edgeplay and the majority of the floggers that you saw that evening (the poi floggers) were from our very own Kabunza Craftwerks (we do accept custom orders if you would like a personalised set made).

As well as the workshop, it was also Kabunza‘s first ever trade stand at the BBB. We received some wonderful feedback on our products and many people walked home with shiny new Kabunza collars, jewellery and floggers. We are gleefully looking forward to any possibilities of trading there again. The atmosphere and people at this event are simply awesome.

To sum up this post, I would just like to send out a few thankyou’s :

  • To the BBB market and after party organizers for offering us the opportunity to have our Kabunza trade stand represented at their event, for the ample support they gave us, for allowing me the honour of hosting a workshop for them and for their very encouraging and complimentary words throughout.
  • To everyone who made a purchase at the Kabunza trade stand. We know from all your lovely comments and appreciation photos that our hard work is going to good homes. We hope you get as much joy from them through their use and wear as we have had in creating them.
  • To everyone who attended the workshop. I hope everyone had fun (I know many did from the comments that I have received on Facebook and Fetlife but I never tire from hearing your thoughts and I am sure the readers of my blog would love to hear your comments if anyone would like to post any below).
  • To my ever diligent partner for pouring her blood, sweat and tears (three of my favourite things to squeeze out of her) into customising and altering almost every purchased Kabunza item at the event. She really worked hard.
  • To my Benjamin. Who, without him, none of the above would of happened and who embraced everything that I inflicted upon him at the workshop (and afterwards) with a delicious smile. As I have always said; “It takes two to play”, and in that respect I am always greatly appreciative of him and feel incredibly lucky to have him as my own.
Advertisements

A Velvet Thought – Mistresses Musings: What is the difference?

Recently I was asked what the difference is between a professional Dominatrix and a lifestyle Dominatrix. I thought my reply was worth posting to blog and I have thrown financial Domination in the mix as well because this has also been asked of me in the past:

A financial Dominatrix has no skill in any of the BDSM arts. They are not a true Mistress, they simply pose as one. It is unlikely you will meet them anywhere apart from online. All they will do is demand that you give them money or pay their bills. They demand cash in exchange for nothing (aside from possible verbal abuse or online humiliation).
These people tend to give professional Domination a bad name because many people fail to differentiate between financial and professional Domination as there are quite a few professional Dominants who practice financial Domination.
I personally loath this practice. In my opinion they are on a par with beggars or ‘spongers’. I believe that money given should be money earned and I class financial Dominants as lower than pond scum on the evolutionary ladder.

A professional Dominatrix is basically one who plays in a dungeon with a paying client. The client has a fetish, kink or BDSM fantasy and would like to act it out. It is a form of drama therapy and while it may be erotic or sensual, there is never any sex ( if sex is involved then they are a prostitute, not a Dominatrix).
The majority of professional Dominatrices have a normal life when they leave the dungeon (When I say majority, I can only comment on my own experiences and acquaintances. Around 90% of all I have met. And when I say normal, I mean of course a vanilla existence). They do not spend a large portion of their life studying BDSM practices. They have a very basic knowledge of the equipment, normally what they have been told by friends, played with in the bedroom, have seen on TV or what they may have had shown to them by other Mistresses or submissives at their dungeon of residence. This level of skill coupled with common sense and safety is often enough to deal with a large portion of paying clients. Most clients have a very generalised fetish (often something they have seen on television or on the internet) which tend to be very simple to do. They do not often attend BDSM events or clubs because they consider the play their job and there is no profit in attending such places.
I must stress that this opinion is based solely on the professional Dominants that I have met. The other 10% tend to be incredibly skilled because they are usually both lifestyle as well as professional. The key is, of course, noticing this before passing judgement simply on their choice of profession. The lifestyle professionals tend to do it for a living because they love BDSM so much.

A lifestyler (or lifestyle Dominatrix, if you prefer) is one who does it because they love it. It is part of their everyday life. They often go to great lengths to get high quality or specialised equipment (I rarely use the equipment on show in the dungeon as I prefer my own) and they spend a great deal of time learning the skills involved in their chosen BDSM activities. They tend to attend the events, clubs and venues because it is their passion and not simply a job.

Essentially it comes down to this: Give a financial Dominatrix a flogger and she will demand money from you to have the privilege of passing it to her hand (and she will have no clue as to how to use it or have any inclination to do so. Of course, this is if you actually manage to meet them in the flesh), give a professional Dominatrix a flogger and (9 times out of 10) she will show you how to hit someone with it for money, give a lifestyle Dominatrix a flogger (preferably someone that has a few years experience) and she will show you how to make it dance.

There is a lot of information on the internet about the differences. These are of course just my own observations and opinions. I am forever hoping to have these opinions improved upon, but this is how they stand to date.

I am both lifestyle and professional. I am of the minority. I do this for a living next to my small business (even my small business is BDSM orientated) and it has been my passion and a major part of my life for almost 10 years.

Constructive opinions appreciated if anyone would care to give their own interpretations. Is my opinion flawed?

So, you want to be a professional Dominatrix?

I receive regular emails and messages asking me questions on how to go about becoming a professional Dominatrix and I do offer training sessions in my dungeon (phone me for details if you have a specific training in mind). However, there are a certain number of base truths that anyone who aspires to get into this kind of business should know.

  1. This kind of work takes a specific type of mindset and a certain mentality. It is not the kind of thing for the faint of heart and it is not just about wearing some fetish clothing or sounding bossy. Clients will know if you are less than genuine. In my opinion, a decent intellect and a basic knowledge of human anatomy is mandatory, and if you are not naturally dominant or you do not already have an interest in fetish, kink or sadomasochism, then I would highly recommend you give it up as a bad idea before you make yourself look incredibly stupid.
  2. It is not easy work. This job can be very draining emotionally, mentally and physically. I am certain that from the observers point of view, this kind of lifestyle can look incredibly glamorous, fun and exciting. Those who are successful tend to make it look easy. But there is a lot of work to be done both in and out of the dungeon before sessions can take place. Profiles, websites, updates, advertisements, photo shoots, constant correspondence 24/7 with both potential clients and time wasters, references to check, set up before and clean up after each session, travel and any specific arrangements that need to be made beforehand. To say it can get stressful is an understatement.
  3. You get out of it what you put into it. You are directly responsible for any success or failure that you achieve. The energy and money that I invest in developing my business, equipment or skills, directly reflects my success and earnings. Quality brings longevity, knowledge brings respect, investment brings potential and all are required to bring profit. You will also find that this business is very seasonal or fickle. Certain times of the year can be incredibly busy whereas at other times you may not spank a single bottom for weeks. It is a very true barometer of the economy; when the economy is healthy, people feel that they can spend on the luxuries, when the economy is slow, the mortgage is more important than tribute for a Mistress.
  4. You may meet mentally questionable people in this lifestyle and business. Most tend to be very respectful and intelligent, however, you do get a few who look to abuse and take advantage (some are prone to violence). You learn to identify these people fairly quickly, but you must keep your wits in this kind of business and be able to handle yourself both verbally and physically. A lacking in self-confidence or being emotionally sensitive will mean this kind of work will bring you nothing but mental anguish.
  5. This kind of profession can be very hard on relationships. Family, friends or partners; not everyone will agree with your choice of work or lifestyle. This is one of the reasons why the mundane are called mundane, they will never understand. The best you can hope for is that they simply accept. Many people will make assumptions, often negative, about you, your motives or your character. I have also noticed that despite being a lifestyle Dominatrix, even other members of the BDSM scene may take an active dislike to a professional practitioner of BDSM.

These basics by no means cover everything and I am sure other professionals will have different views. They are just a few personal observations which I have learned in my years as a lifestyle Dominatrix as well as my years in the professional business and I am simply relaying to those who have been seeking my advice or to any who may seek it in the future.

I would not recommend seeking advice on practicing professional BDSM from anyone other than those who have experience practicing professional BDSM (you may be able to learn skills from those who frequent the BDSM scene, but you will not learn the finer details of how to run your business from anyone other than those who have hands on knowledge, no pun intended).

It is unlikely that this will be my last ‘advice post’. Some of my previous blog posts which have been written with the intention of giving help advice to the aspiring professional Dominatrix include:

Preventing “bounce”

Tipping the hourglass

My only hope is that this helps people to decide and accept the consequences of their own life choices.

Introductions: Angele

While I am building quite a collection of equipment, (including items such as floggers, shibari ropes and urethral sounds) only the most special of items get given names. Usually these items hold incredible sentimental value and have been gifted for a very special reason or are of an insanely high quality. These items virtually have a living personality because they are so individual or unique that they require reverence, respect and need to be placed on a pedestal far higher than the standard fare.

To date, Sasha and Tempest are the only items of my arsenal that have been given names and Sasha is quickly becoming known as an individual. Anyone who has met her always refer to her by name instead of simply the item of equipment that she is.

Recently there has been two new additions to my family. Benjamin (uncollared as of yet, but has come further into my circle than anyone has in nearly 7 years) and Angele: A fully functional and refurbished vintage/antique violet wand. (a tribute from Benjamin to mark the occasion, no pun intended)

Benjamin has already been (and will very likely be in the future) in many of my blog posts (past entries include: DV8 Fetish Festival 2012: Overview, Urethral sounding, The best cruelty, 50 Vs 6 and Anything). This blog post, however, is to introduce Angele.

Angele:

An immense amount of thought and research went in to the choice of this item. She was chosen specifically for many reasons, including strength and high frequency output, aesthetic value, uniqueness and age.

She is a vintage/antique Vitalis 1880’s “Les rayons qui guerissent” model, which when translated from French means: “healing rays” (attempting to imagine what they would have produced if they had decided to create a wand to damage instead of heal has been the subject of recent wet dreams).

She has been named Angele (pronounced: “Ahn-jhel”) after the feminine French (equivalent) word for angel (masculine being ‘Ange’).
I thought a French name would be the most appropriate seeing as she was designed and created by a French company and subsequently would have been the country where she was built.

Despite being dated from the 1880’s (the exact year cannot be determined as the last digit of the model year has been worn away due to age), we have assumed that this printed date represents the Vitalis company and not the wand itself. Angele’s previous owner (bound2tease.net) has placed her birthday (date of construction) approximately in the 1930’s (this would make her around 80 years old). We are still researching into the company and model, but any help or information that anyone could give on ‘Angele’ or her creators would be greatly appreciated.

She has been fully restored with a black faux leather exterior and black cotton velvet interior. The original fascia is a kind of agate/marble effect bakelite, giving her an overall style and look that is similar to her new owner: AKA. Gothic Steampunk.

Her arsenal of attachments/electrodes include:

Curved throat electrode:
Usually used on the neck or throat but can be used on anything that is curved. Power rating: Medium to high.

Surface mushroom electrode:
Excellent for general massage. Power rating: Medium.

Saturation tube electrode:
Often used in secondary contact or intense massage. Power rating: High to strong.

Nerve brush electrode:
Designed to stimulate the skin and nerve endings under the skin. Power rating: High to strong.

Single eye electrode:
Originally used on the eyes (but now that we have reached the 21st century, we all know better. The original use of this attachment is now widely regarded as a very bad move. But it makes for a lovely smaller version of the mushroom attachment and works brilliantly on nipples). Power rating: Medium to high.

Spinal electrode:
Two points of contact for the back or spine. Can be very sensual. Power rating: Medium to high.

Comb electrode:
Designed for the hair (not advisable if you use flammable hair products, but safe otherwise) and back of the neck. Very sensual. Power rating: Medium to high.

Prostrate electrode:
Anal probe electrode. Excellent for getting into what would normally be inaccessible areas. Also makes for a good precision pointer. Power rating: Medium to high.

Condenser/Amplifier electrode:
A multipurpose electrode designed to intensify treatment and condense output to a specific area. Power rating: High to strong.

Fulgurator electrode:
Originally used for burning out warts and cauterising. Present day use of this attachment in BDSM play can include electrobranding. A fine wire tip end gives an intense array of sparks. Power rating: Strong to fearsome (It should come as no surprise that this attachment instantly became my favourite electrode).

Body contact pad:
Used for indirect and reverse techniques, where either you or your play partners entire body is electrified and literally becomes the attachment to the wand. Sparks fly from whatever body part you touch with or is touched.

I cannot express in words how perfect, splendid and marvelous she is.
These photos do not do her justice.
I hope to be making movies which will include her in action very soon.

All images are Copyright © 2012 AemiliaHawk. All Rights Reserved.