Hope you're not too tied up to meet our resident rigger
If you have seen the beauty of Shibari rope work then you will have taken notice of the expertise that goes into creating such divine bondage. Have you ever wondered how much work goes into learning these ravishing skills and mastering the kinky knots required to safely and securely produce rope work? At our Kinky Consent launch party, we will have the very talented James from Get Knotted on hand to give demos and rig you or your sub to your specifications. So, let's get to know him a little better on the run-up to the party.
What is your role within the BDSM lifestyle?
I did spend a few years within the scene not having an understanding of what my role was. Instead of ‘searching’ for my role, I just enjoyed the time watching and trying different aspects of the lifestyle. While in this period of voyeurism, I realised that I made a lousy sub (I can never zone out) and I felt I was too gentle to be a Dom. It was when somebody mentioned the title of being a ‘service top’ where you control somebody but to meet their needs not your own that I started to understand my own position.
How does your role fit in with rigging?
For me, being a rigger really fits in with being a service top whilst also exploring my artistic side, I am able to provide an environment where the person being tied can feel safe and secure and able to retreat to their own inner space.
What drew you to rigging?
It was only after a chance encounter with a rigger at AntiChrist in London where I was fully suspended that I began to view rope work as a role within the scene. Even though I see myself as a rigger (I personally do not get anything from being roped), for me it was important to experience being tied first so I can understand in part what it feels like and why some people are drawn to being rope bunnies.
What do you like about Shibari rope work?
For me, it is the combination of the rope against the human form creating something beautiful out of what is effectively a restraining technique removing the freedom of another person. It’s watching the person being tied completely relax and zone out, seeing the blissed-out expression on their face and having control over their movements. It’s seeing the rope trailing over their skin and watching how they react. When done well, where both parties have the trust and support for each other, that shines through adding depth to the imagery.
What are the hardest knots to master?
Not wanting to let the cat out of the bag, most decorative ties are less about knots and more about the lay of the rope. There are some really effective decorative knots out there such as the ‘Lucky Knot’ that just take practice. Practice is possibly the important point, that way when you are in a scene, you don’t have to think about the knots too much and the art form can flow beautifully.
You display your work at different clubs, do you have a favourite to work at and if so why?
I can’t say I have a favourite club or style of club. When working within a larger club, I love the energy and vibrancy that comes from a large group of like-minded people. However, within that scene it is easy to get lost in the crowd, which is where the smaller more personal clubs have a marked advantage as you can take time to get to know each other and build up friendships. It also helps as you have more space and time to discuss the dynamics of a scene. My regular home these days is The House Of Rua which is run by my wife and her colleague.
Do you get a personal thrill from rigging or do you do it for the beauty/to teach?
My prime motivation for rigging is the beauty of a human form being enhanced by the rope. Having a person offer you their time and body to be used as a canvas and also to be part of the canvas is a great privilege. I treat the whole process from applying the rope, the final form to the untying, as my creative outlet. Of course being able to spend time working with a person observing how their body moves and reacts is pleasurable but for me, it works at a sensual and artistic level, not sexual.
What are the most important things to consider from a safety point of view?
When looking at safety, the most important aspect is communication, both before the tie, during the tie and afterwards. This communication is a 2-way process where any concerns can be raised before they become issues. Anybody being tied should always feel they can highlight any concerns. An example that happened to me recently is that during the scene, the person I was tying mentioned that they were just starting to get pins and needles in their finger (I had their arms tied and elevated behind their back). As soon as they mentioned this I released the pressure on the shoulders allowing the pins and needles to go. From there, once they assured me they were ok, we could continue. Whereas there are general rules regarding where and where not to tie, every person’s body is different and it’s important to recognise this. As a rigger it is imperative that we listen to the person being tied otherwise we can so easily cross over from consent to abuse and possibly cause injury. Not every pain is a ‘good’ pain – especially when roping.
As a rigger I have a duty to ensure that the person I am tying is kept within a safe environment, being not just aware of the specifics of the rope but the whole area. From the moment I tie the first knot, I am aware that their entire safety is in my hands. Unfortunately, at clubs, you do get some, normally guys, who try to crash into your scene, hoping to be able to touch and sexually manhandle the person you are tying. This is not only rude and abusive but can have an impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of the person being tied. This is possibly one of the few parts of life where I lose my sense of humour.
I always ensure that I carry safety scissors ‘just in case’. In the rare event that a person who is tied panics, the time taken to unrope them is going to be too long for their comfort – so better to sacrifice a few metres of rope than to traumatise them permanently.
I always ensure that appropriate aftercare is given, either by myself or a friend/partner of the person who has been tied. For many, being tied is a deeply moving experience which can release deep-seated emotional issues. The endorphin rise and fall alone is enough to cause many people to need some time to recover after a tie. Some just need quiet time and space, some need a hug and some just need something sugary (I always carry a few sweets for those who need them). It’s individual to all. My main concern with each and every person that I tie is that they have an experience where they feel safe, confident and secure.
How do you prepare mentally or physically?
To be prepared, I always try to detach myself from ‘normal life’ allowing the roping to be a form of escapism. I generally change into one of my outfits as a mark of the change from everyday life to Shibari. By doing this I leave the worries and stresses of life outside and put my full concentration into rope work. This allows my mind to be more focused and my body to be more relaxed.
Do you use any specific type of rope? Or do you have a favourite?
My favourite rope for non-suspension work is 6mm cotton magicians rope as this is not cored and is soft enough not to cause friction burns. The other advantage is the variety of colours available. If I am doing suspension work then I use 6mm artificial hemp for the ties around the body and 8mm hemp for the structural rigging. The artificial rope is nearly but not quite as soft as the natural hemp but being man made is more consistent. I am lucky to have a very good rope supplier just down the road from me who will let me know if they have something suitable arrived in stock (they do know what I use the rope for).
Have you had any strange or unusual requests when tying someone up at a club?
This might sound like a story from a men’s magazine, but while tying a female bunny to a St Andrew’s cross at an event, a lady that I had previously been talking to about rigging asked me if she could watch and then interact with the bunny. After seeking the bunny’s permission on both counts (she more than happily agreed), the scene proceeded with the bunny being caressed by the lady observing. When a friend of the lady came up to watch, she was invited into the scene. She asked if she could be included in the tie as a second bunny. It ended up with 2 bunnies tied sensually (borderline sexually) to each other with the lady observing continuing to caress both of those being tied (full consent had been reached with all involved). The whole process was spontaneous and sensual. For me, the challenge was to think on the go and work out a suitable tie for 2 bunnies without breaking the flow of the scene. Thankfully, once the ties were complete, I could just stand back to watch and enjoy.
At another event, a lady’s corset was not quite holding her in enough so, using rope, I was able to provide some decorative support. To see her proudly walking around the event, displaying my work was certainly a big thrill.
Thanks for taking the time to share your views and information with our kinky followers. I am sure they are getting very excited about the party to observe your sublimely divine rope work or even offer themselves as willing participants.
If you would like to contact James or see more of his skills then you can find him on My Facebook @getknottedshibari and Fetlife @james1968
For party tickets www.kinkyconsent.co.uk
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