Interview With Eden Thomson (Skindependent Suspensions)

Interview as recorded on 28/07/2013

Altearoa:skin1
How would you define what you do?

Eden:
Well by definition body suspension is hanging the human body through numerous pierced hooks in the flesh and taking your weight on those hooks. And having a good time.

Altearoa:
So what got you started into this?

Eden:
To be honest, when I first saw suspension, I wasn’t into it. At that stage I was hanging around the studio that I’m at a lot. Getting a lot of piercings, getting a lot of mod-work, getting a lot of tattoo work done, but suspension didn’t really interest me when I first saw it. It was a line I drew for myself, where I was like “Nah I’m happy doing what I’m doing” I’m not going to cross over that line. But then it kind of grew on me, the more I saw it. It wasn’t happening hugely around at all, but what I did see, I started to really kind of like. Then I gave it, I think about six months, of humming and harring about whether or not I should do it. Until finally I was like “Yea I think that’s something that I could get into” and the rest is history.


Altearoa:

So how long has Skindependent Suspension been around?

Eden:
It is actually our fifth birthday this year, so yea five years, in September I think it is.

Altearoa:
What’s helped it get so far and become what it is today?

Eden:
First and foremost, a dedicated crew. I share this passion with six other members, who love it just as much as I do. So that helps immensely, I mean we wouldn’t be a team without everyone, so definitely the team first and foremost. And education, absolutely education, and evolution. You don’t get anywhere with anything in this world, unless you’re learning, evolving, getting better, and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve travelled extensively to be able to do it, because we care, we care so much about what we do. You can only get better at something if you’re constantly evolving so that’s what we’ve done. Man I look at photos from five years ago, and I never forget where we’ve come from, but it’s a great reminder to see how far we’ve gone.

skin2Altearoa:
What advice would you give someone starting out, or just wanting to be suspended?

Eden:
As a practitioner, we’re always welcoming of anyone that wants to learn. It’s better to receive the right education. I wouldn’t close it off to anyone, but it has to be done safely, so it’s in our best interest to be able to share that knowledge with people. If people were closed off to me then we wouldn’t be where we are. So I kind of owe it to people, to further their education, so definitely don’t try this at home. But certainly, if you are interested, then there are certain steps you can take. Like I was saying, we’re always welcoming of people that are interested, to show them the ins and outs and the technical side of how it works.

But definitely do your homework. We’re in a day and age now where there is no excuse to do it badly. No excuse at all. With networking, it takes a couple of searches to find where you can go, and I don’t mean a how-to search, I mean a “who do I find that can help me” search. Most teams are pretty receptive; I mean especially in such a small country, you’re probably going to have to expect to travel. Definitely, definitely, do your homework.

As far as being a suspendee goes, come along and watch. That’s the best advice I can give, if you’re interested, come along and watch. I can’t describe it to people, well I mean I can, but nothing is better than either watching it, or doing it yourself. But of course everyone’s got questions, everyone’s nervous, that’s perfectly normal. But there is no explaining the smile on someone’s face when they’re in the air. You can’t write that down.

Altearoa:
So for a first time suspendee, what should they expect?

Eden:
An experience, an absolute experience. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not good, but either way you’re getting an experience out of it. Most of the experiences that we facilitate are positive ones, but everyone has their off days, even I’ve had my off days, where I’ve gone up and just, no, not happening for that day, so that’s cool but absolutely, an experience.

Altearoa:
What’s been you’re favourite experience with this?

Eden:
Aside from every month, I’m probably going to have to say travelling to Dallas. The Dallas convention, the SusCon over there, was huge for us, being from such a small country. Being able to make it, and having travelled the furthest out of anyone, to make it there I think was amazing and meeting everyone that I respect and look up to in the community, being able to meet them in person and learn from them personally was just absolutely amazing.

Altearoa:
Who were your influences when you got started in this?

Eden:
My influences were, and still are, Håvve Fjell, he’s from Norway and he runs a group called Wings of Desire, he’s my mentor, my go-to guy. He was very receptive of me, when he didn’t have to be, and I say didn’t have to be as in, he lives in Norway and I live in New Zealand, so quite easily he could have passed me on to someone else, but he didn’t. He took a chance on us and our team and I hope I’ve made him proud with what we do. Also Allen Falkner and Misty Forsberg as well, they’re two key figureheads in this community that inspire me a lot. I absolutely look up to them a lot. And of course my team, my team inspire me, absolutely, a constant source of inspiration.

Altearoa:skin5
Has there been anything that you hadn’t expected, that just stunned you?

Eden:
Well maybe not how you’d think, but abilities of teams, I shouldn’t say stunned me, that’s probably not accurate. Just seeing what can be done is amazing. For instance the Oslo SusCon has just finished for another year and what goes on there stuns me, I’m not surprised, because I know how amazing they are, but seeing what they come up with is nothing short of beautiful. It’s really inspiring for us, really inspiring.

Altearoa:
What are your plans for the future?

Eden:
Plans for the future. Travels expensive for us, and because we’re a non-profit organisation, we’re not a business; we’re just people doing what we love. It’s a hobby for us, but an expensive hobby at that. I would love for the team to be able to travel, as a team, overseas and visit SusCon’s. But immediately, we’re planning, well we’re hoping to plan, the first SusCon in this hemisphere, or first official SusCon anyway for 2015. We’re calling it SusCon Australasia and hoping to bring education to this side of the world because it’s not so easy for people to travel overseas. I think there was only us from New Zealand, representing the whole of New Zealand, in Dallas and there was another practitioner from Australia. I can understand the expenses, so it would be amazing to be able to bring that sort of education over here. Like I was saying before, education is key, so it’s hopefully making the education a bit more hands on, a bit more readily available for people over this side of the world.

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About Vince Clark 63 Articles
One of the original founders of Altearoa in 2013. Coming from a background in theatre and the perfoming arts Vince is the jack-of-all-trades behind Altearoa.co.nz - creating graphics, developing the website, and producing events along side writing and photography work.

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