Interview: Haley

Today we’re joined by Haley. Haley is a phenomenal visual artist and crafter, who is also a seamstress. She absolutely loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a visual artist, and I draw mainly figures and portraits in ink and marker but also sometimes watercolor. Not only am I a visual artist I am a crafter and seamstress too. I like to create pieces that are trendy at the moment for much cheaper.

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What inspires you?

The diversity in the world around me. Everyone is beautiful and different in their own way. Also the internet is a huge inspiration as well I love seeing everyone else’s creations.

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What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I always thought it was amazing how people can just create anything from nothing. My aunt got me interested in sewing she taught me to sew when I was about eight years old.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

In my signature on my artwork, the H in my name is somewhat shaped like a star.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up on yourself. There will be artists who are better at what you do than you. You might look up to them or you might despise them because they’re younger than you and better than them. You need to remember there’s someone out there who feels that way about you.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am panromantic asexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I have had many people who ask me why don’t you make it sexier? Why don’t you make that dress shorter or the neckline deeper? You’ll get more followers if you design that character with bigger boobs and a bigger butt. I realize sex is all over in the media but that’s just not how I am. I tell them that I don’t want to and that it doesn’t fit my personality or just plain ignore it. Most often when someone is sending you hate or “suggestions” they just want attention.

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What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The worst one I’ve encountered is that we are cold emotionless beings who love no one else, and that we have no feelings or passion.

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What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

I struggled with my sexuality for years… I thought I wasn’t gay enough or maybe I wasn’t actually asexual and I’m just pretending. I actually still struggle with my identity, and I probably will for a long time and that’s okay, take your time to figure it all out and don’t feel like you have to come out to anyone. Also, most importantly, don’t forget it’s okay to talk to someone about it all. I have a really close and amazing best friend who I talked to about my whole mess.

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Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

My art Tumblr, teaandsketchbooks is probably the best place to find it.

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Thank you, Haley, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Inu

Today we’re joined by Inu, who also goes by InuShiek. Inu is mainly a fanfiction writer who writes stories based on a variety of fandoms. Aside from fanfiction, Inu is also a dedicated crafter, doing a fair amount of knitting and crochet. She also recently did a rather unique sewing project. It’s very apparent she loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Blanket

 

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fanfiction writer mainly, but I also crochet and knit in my free time. I enjoy writing for several fandoms, but mainly Transformers. I began writing little drabbles on paper back in middle school, and I began writing much more frequently online since graduating high school. I picked up crocheting almost 2 years ago, and knitting a year and a half ago. I’ve made a large blanket, but mainly small items as gifts for friends and family. (I think my favorite project so far is a crocheted Optimus Prime hat. It’s magnificent!)

I also occasionally sew. Let me lead by saying that I am an Animal Sciences graduate student, so much of my time is spent studying and teaching nutrition. Because of this, my most notable sewing project has been a life-size replica of a horse’s digestive tract made entirely out of fleece. It is nearly 100 feet long! So….much…..sewing…!! But it’s been used for several educational events and it’s always fun to see peoples’ eyes widen when they realize just how big a horse’s digestive tract can be!

What inspires you?

As far as writing goes, I rely heavily on my online friends for ideas and requests. Most of my fanfics are actually of the smut variety, so people will sometimes make requests with their favorite characters, specific scenario, or kinks in mind. I enjoy writing for them, and seeing them enjoy something that they didn’t have to write themselves is nice

For yarn crafts, I enjoy spending time on Pinterest and Ravelry looking for project ideas and patterns. I’ve saved so many patterns that I’ll probably never be able to make them all! I’m constantly on the lookout for new yarn of all different colors and materials, and they often inspire the article I’ll make. For example, I saw some lovely yarn with my university’s colors, and I immediately knew I wanted a scarf made of it for cold football game days.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always had an imagination that had me making up stories in my head. Back in the days when folks posted fanfiction on Quizilla, I read my first fanfiction and realized I could make stories up using established characters from shows, books, and movies that I love. I introduced my best friend to it, and we set out on writing a joint fanfiction that turned into a massive 400+ page fic. I was hooked and I’ve been writing in various fandoms ever since.

As for the yarn crafting, my grandmother used to crochet often, and I’d sit and watch her for hours when I was little. She showed me how to crochet chains, and I would make these things sometimes 10-15 feet long for no real reason other than I could. I was too young to really understand how to go back within the chain to add multiple rows to projects to make them wider, so I’d just make chains. I enjoyed the action, but I couldn’t do anything with the chains I made. I wound up quitting for several years, and decided to pick it back up when I learned that my best friend also wanted to learn. We made blankets as our first projects (yikes!), and haven’t stopped crocheting and learning together since. I learned to knit a few months after picking crochet back up because the types of projects that can be knitted are so distinctly different. I enjoy the repetitive motions of both crafts, and being able to pretty pretty and/or useful things for myself and my friends is a treat

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

My fanfics tend to be very short (more drabbles, really), and I like to think I’m at least a little recognizable for my style and how I incorporate various kinks.

I haven’t developed my crochet or knit skills to the point of being able to create or customize my own patterns, so I don’t really feel like I’ve got any recognizable features yet

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Find what you enjoy, and do it because you enjoy it. I remember when I first started writing and posting online that I didn’t get many views at all. I started to get discouraged, but I eventually realized that I was trying to write to please everyone. After that, I started writing things that I enjoy or that others specifically asked for. I still don’t get as many views as some of my own favorite authors, but I’m ok with that because I enjoy the writing

I still make mistakes. I find typos, continuity errors, dropped stitches, miscount rows, and all that stuff. I just keep working because I learn from those mistakes and still enjoy the final product. Don’t get discouraged because you made a mistake or you aren’t famous. Make art that makes you happy, no matter what form that art takes

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Digestive Tract

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual. I usually don’t even experience aesthetic attraction to people

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Occasionally I’ll get asked how I can write fanfiction like I do and be asexual, but the questions aren’t phrased rudely. Plus, I know most people think asexuality invariably means “I want nothing to do with sex, thanks,” and they’re usually pretty understanding when I explain that it’s a spectrum and we’re all different in our experiences and preferences.

I sometimes attend a weekly knitting group in my town. There are two regular attendees who are homosexual and bisexual, and they sometimes bring another friend who is pansexual. They’re very open about their own orientations, and I feel like they’d likely be open to mine if I made it known, so that’s been great to know that I’m not on an island

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Personally, I most often encounter the misconception that we are all sex repulsed and/or have no libido. We can consider ourselves to be in those categories, of course, but it’s not a requirement by any means. We’re all different and have our own individual reasons. Because nearly all of my fanfictions involve sex, that seems to throw some people for a loop when they learn I’m actually asexual.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Don’t let anyone try to force you to be someone you’re not.

You’re on the ace spectrum and you’re wonderful, okay?

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

http://www.ravelry.com/people/InuShiek is the site that I use to track my progress on a few of my ongoing knit and crochet projects. It isn’t a comprehensive list (because I’m bad to start a small project and finish it before I ever add it to Ravelry), but there are some WIP photos of a few of my projects.

https://inu-knits-and-crochets.tumblr.com/ is my crafting blog where I post about the crafts I love and share patterns that others have created

All of my fanfiction is on AO3, but, again, most of it is smut of some form or another. Please don’t click if you aren’t comfortable with that http://archiveofourown.org/users/InuShiek/works

I’ll also post prompts, drabbles, and links on my main blog (which has further NSFW content. Please don’t click if that isn’t what you want to see): http://inushiek.tumblr.com/tagged/inu+fic

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OP Hat

Thank you, Inu, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Clara Quinion

Today we’re joined by Clara. Clara is a phenomenal science fiction writer who is quite prolific. To date, she has written three novels, a number of short stories, and some poetry as well. It is quite apparent that she has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Please, tell us about your art.

I write science fiction. Also bits of art, photography, and craft.

What inspires you?

Everything. I’m a highly sensitive introvert with synesthesia. I take in more sensory impressions than most people, spend a long time mulling them over, making connections, and come out with some interesting thought-experiments.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I used to draw all the time when I was a kid. During my teens I got more into photography, and thought that would be my career. That didn’t work out. I got into writing by serendipity: having failed to get into any arts courses at university, I applied for a bunch of other creative courses through clearing, and got into an English with Creative Writing degree.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I write in a multiverse called The Sustained World: all worlds capable of sustaining intelligent life lined up, separated by the Void, yet transversible. The denizens of The Sustained World are called Eltoids, which is a wider definition than humanoid, and means creatures capable of intelligence, communication, and manual dexterity, the symbol of which is a three-noded triangle. I’m also working a lot with black crow imagery: in The Sustained World, the Reapers who take the spirits of the deceased to the Void take the shape of crows.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do your own thing. Not what’s popular. Not what you think will sell. Not what everyone else is doing. Your own thing. You don’t have to be the best at your medium. Being authentic is much more important.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual and biromantic/panromantic. And queer, as far as I think that gender roles are arbitrary rubbish.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Nothing comes to mind. In the past I haven’t actually spoken much about not wanting to have sex. Just kept quiet and nodded along when people bring such things up. I have a pretty filthy sense of humour and I don’t mind talking about sex at all, but I always get uncomfortable if I see sexual imagery.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Not directly, but I feel that it’s been indicated to me that being sexually active is like a further step in developing towards adulthood. Probably by the same sort of people who think getting drunk is a sign of maturity. Knowing yourself and what you like and don’t like is a great step in your development.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

There is nothing wrong with you. Sex is not a fundamental need like eating and sleeping. It’s more like an interest. I have no interest in sex just as I have no interest in sports. We are all different, and that’s what makes us beautiful. Do your thing, and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong because you don’t like what they like.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

http://thesustainedworldatransverse.tumblr.com/ and www.facebook.com/ClaraQuinionWriting

Thank you, Clara, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Lee

Today we’re joined by Lee. Lee is a wonderful artist who does a bit of everything. They love cooking the most, but they also do some writing and crafts. They also enjoy music and play a number of instruments as well as sing. It’s very obvious they love creating, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Please, tell us about your art.

I like to cook, knit, cross-stitch, write and play music. I love cooking the most, as it provides a lovely meal for you to eat when you are done! My specialties include mushroom risotto, spaghetti carbonara and chicken chow mein. My knitting and cross-stitching is really good for relaxing in my spare time with some music and a cat on my lap.

Writing is also one of my favourite things to do, but unfortunately writer’s block stands in my way like a stubborn boulder more often than not. I like to write romance (because asexuals can still have lovely romantic relationships!) and horror. Sadly for my characters, they are sometimes combined.

As for music, I can play bass, keyboard and ukulele, and I love to sing. My friend gives me the nickname Tyler Joseph because I can rap as well. I mostly do covers, but recently I composed an original song.

What inspires you?

My inspiration for cooking and writing almost always starts with a ‘what if?’.

I love to take tropes and recipes that people are used to and flip them on their heads. Adding a certain new ingredient can make meals really tasty, especially if you switch out a vegetable you don’t like for one you do. What if instead of beansprouts and lettuce, you had mushrooms and sweetcorn in your stir-fry? What if you added cinnamon to your muffins? (I add cinnamon to everything and anything I bake. Someone needs to stop me.)

In writing I love challenging tropes, and mostly I use it as an opportunity to make my characters diverse and three-dimensional. For example, what if the superhero is ace & aro and never gets a love interest, but the villain is so busy trying to find out who they’re dating that they don’t realise the hero has found their lair? If I’m writing fanfiction, my question may become “what if this scene went differently?” Or “What if these characters had a happy ending?”

Inspiration also comes from things I read; books, I like to believe, are not just paper. They reproduce, as plots and characters and settings from all different books inspire more plots and characters and settings in other writers. It’s like a whole new species.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’d have to say the thing that got me interested in writing was reading. I was the epitome of a bookworm when I was little, and all those books made me want to write some of my own. I thought, if these characters can have these adventures, what adventures can my characters have?

I’ve also always loved music and singing, but I was never very good at anything but keyboard until my music teacher introduced me to the bass guitar. It’s my favorite instrument as it’s simple yet really effective, and can serve as both melody and percussion. Plus, I can play the bassline to Dance Dance, which is one of my favourite basslines ever.

My interest in knitting and cross-stitching came from, as with many others, my grandmother teaching me how. Since she got arthritis and can’t do it anymore, I feel like I should carry on her legacy, so to speak. Plus, it comes back again to challenging stereotypes. Whoever hears of a teenager knitting?

And cooking, of course, comes from loving food.

I always loved writing and wanted to be an author, but I never thought the other three would become so important in my life.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I think everyone who has read my writing knows that I use ‘though’ in every other sentence.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make some art. And then make some more. And if you have art block in one area, try another. Things like drawing, painting and writing can take up a lot of mental energy because your creativity is being pushed to its limits. If you’re struggling with a particular piece, find something new to create that has a set of instructions to follow, like my personal favourite, knitting. Once you get into the hang of whatever you’re making, your mind wanders and maybe you can have an idea that can help you! Remember that all art is good art and you don’t have to be amazing at everything straight away. Be patient with yourselves.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am currently questioning my position on the spectrum, but I believe I am most likely to be completely asexual. I’m not rushing to get to an answer, though. I’m also questioning my position on the romantic spectrum, though as I am currently in a lovely relationship I think it’s safe to say I’m not aromantic.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Luckily I am quite sheltered from a lot of prejudice and ignorance as most of my friends are very well educated and/or on the asexual spectrum themselves. I haven’t experienced any as of yet.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Again, most of my friends are well educated on asexuality, but I do find that people tend to go straight down the path of ‘not finding the right person yet’. It’s a bit like telling someone with a nut allergy that they haven’t found the right nut yet.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

If I’m honest I’d say I’m one of those people who are struggling with their orientation, but I think that being patient with yourself is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to identity. There’s nothing wrong with identifying as anything as long as you’re not harming anyone.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have posted one of my covers on my YouTube channel anomalee, and more will probably be up there soon.

My AO3 account is heyitslee, though I would advise you stay away from the old stuff.

I have a blog that occasionally posts tips for brit-picking, called its-not-block-its-street, that you can check out.

I also recently started a writing blog called thescientificterm. I am yet to post on it, but I will be posting some pieces I have already done on there soon, and any new pieces will be going up there. I am currently working on a horror piece for my creative writing coursework, so keep your eyes out for that! I might make it into a crafty blog and post some other stuff up there too.

Thank you, Lee, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Scarley

Today we’re joined by Scarley. Scarley is a fantastic crafter who does a couple different things. She enjoys cross-stitch, knitting, crocheting, and has recently gotten into Wrapper Art. When she’s not crafting, Scarley writes poetry on occasion. She’s incredibly enthusiastic, which makes for a delightful interview. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

As a crafter, I knit, crochet, cross-stitch and have put together Wrapper Art; small practical objects such as purses and glasses sleeves made out of sweet wrappers and other materials. I also write poetry every now and again when the muse takes me.

What inspires you?

Crafting-wise, the interplay of colours and pattern definitely invite me to play around with my pieces, I spend a lot of time re-ordering my colours so they’re the most pleasing graduation possible within the limited scope of my raw materials. I’ve done a whole lot of sunset related purses due to this. 🙂

Poetry-wise, I’m mostly inspired by what is going on around me at any one time. My poems are mostly borne out of my personal experiences or issues I want to talk through in my own head. All are meant to be spoken, the rhythms are definitely internally monologued as I write.

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What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Growing up in a creative family, I guess the impetus was always there, I was always encouraged to pick up ‘junk’ and make it into art, whether it be scrapbooking, or nature art. Knitting and crochet I got into because I inherited my gran’s needles and wool, and then a year later my great-aunt’s as well. I couldn’t just throw that stuff away, I had to learn to utilise it. I started knitting Innocent Smoothie Hats and since then I’ve moved on to Slytherin Scarves, dragons, and anatomically correct skeleton blankets!

Cross-stitch was mostly because I realised producing patterns was easiest on squared paper. I’m a real geek, so most of my cross stitches are Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Pokemon and other fandom related things, however sometimes I mix my medias and I cross stitch beautiful quotes or whole poems, such as Edward Thomas’ poem Lights Out, or Edvard Munch’s Quote about eternity.

Wrapper Art started a while back before then; each year at Christmas time my grandfather buys a tin of Quality Street and I always used to agonize over what to do with the wrappers, they were just too pretty to put in landfill. It took me several years to work an agreeable solution, but I cracked it, and I’ve been obsessed ever since.

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Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Whilst I’ve seen loads of Wrapper Art made out of sweet wrappers, most people use a bigger ratio than I, and make whole bags or clutches out of foil sweet wrappers and the like. So far I think I’m the only person in the world who makes this type of art out of Quality Street wrappers. They just give such a jewel-like sheen!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’ve been making wrapper art for maybe up to ten years and common sense says I should have given up long before now. I’ve been to craft fairs and watched people tell me they love my stuff and then walk away, I’ve also watched parents actively talk their kids out of buying my wares right in front of me. I thought, this summer, that by the end of the year I was going to call it quits. Finish up all my supplies, put everything up for sale in my shop and Stop. I was ready. Then, suddenly all my items started flying off the shelves, I got a commission from the Brand manager of Quality Street, and it all went a little crazy.

This Christmas I put up a bucket at my workplace and asked everyone to contribute their own wrappers as well, and it was an overwhelming success. This year might not produce as many results, but there will be results, and as long as there are results, I will continue.

If you have a passion, even if it’s a labour of love and people initially don’t buy into it, as long as it makes you happy, keep going. Don’t worry about what other people think. Eventually, after they learn to see through the superficial, people will flock to your work because it is clearly passionate. Keep going. It will happen.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I fluctuate between calling myself grey-ace and ace, and lithromantic and aro. I’m so not sex-repulsed, and so romance-positive until the moment it gets applied to myself and then I’m all ‘penises and vaginas are the grossest, hugs are scary and intimidating, you LIKE, like me????? NOPE GTFO’

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

So far not in my field, although I fight people of all romantic and sexual orientations about whether A’s belong in the LGBT or not, all the time (we do, we really, really do, because where do we go if we don’t????)

However I do see a whole lot of posts like the one on my poetry blog, where someone wrote “I feel like poetry hates the aromantic” and I’m like, ‘I’m here, I’m queer, and I’m here to disprove that theory.’ In fact I’m part of the aromanticpoetrynetwork on Tumblr which is producing a zine called Don’t Talk To Me Of Love this winter season.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That we’ve “not met the right person”. Yeah right. I’ve met plenty of people that I’ve been intensely drawn to, and I was never magically cured because this is not a disease that even needs the thought of healing.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You’re valid. Even if, three months down the line you decide that your current label does not fully describe you, that’s okay, you’re still valid. Heck, I’ve been identifying as Ace since I was 19 and I’m still not 100% solid on where I am on the sliding scale 6 years later! Don’t sweat it.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Alrighty, crafting-wise you can find my Tumblr www.cottonkhaleesi.tumblr.com and my Etsy https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Scarleystars and even my Ravelry! http://www.ravelry.com/people/Scarleystars
Poetry-wise www.vosesnequam.tumblr.com
My main Tumblr is www.insouciantchthonian.tumblr.com
Also for gits and shiggles, I have a vastly neglected Ao3 http://archiveofourown.org/users/Scarleystars/pseuds/Scarleystars

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Thank you, Scarley, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Gilbert

Today we’re joined by Gilbert. Gilbert is a wonderfully passionate crafter who loves crochet. He loves to speak about the evolution of handcraft and is incredibly enthusiastic about his art. Gilbert’s energy is positively infectious, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an avid crocheter! Crochet itself is able to convey positivity so well, as an art as well as just simple craft.

What inspires you?

I know some amazing crocheters – mostly through Instagram – who churn out some of the most amazing things in their spare time. I have a local hero near my town who has done some incredible yarn bombs (that is, large crochet instalments in public spaces), she has trees and benches awash with colour and messages like ‘breathe’ ‘you are enough’ and ‘love is love’ – complete with rainbow yarn (a bold move in a conservative neighbourhood, unfortunately it was taken down within days). It reminds me that crochet has a unique role in giving voice to peacemakers and activists: it shouts to the public that we live in the same world as you, and that we care enough about issues to dedicate hours creating something beautiful for it.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I never considered art as something could get into before I started crocheting: I picked it up as a hobby for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was my final year of high school at the time so I wanted something that could take my mind away from the stress of finals and big assignments. I also wanted to be constructive during my downtime, and crochet allowed me both of those things – it was the ultimate procrastination. I found myself coming up with some really creative and thoughtful ideas for people, starting from Harry Potter scarves to really personalised gifts that I knew would suit my friends. In the end I noticed that people are so touched by personal gifts, and I love seeing that in my friends. Nowadays I never really need to make birthday presents, if I have enough time and creativity to make something!

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not really. I do make sure that whoever receives my crochet knows that it was made with love 🙂

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would tell young artists and beginner crocheters to make sure you give yourself room for mistakes and for failure, because they are all a part of the learning experience. Lack of skill should never negate the thoughtfulness behind your work!

4oou

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a heteroromantic asexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Yes indeedy. I have only come out to a handful of friends, they all at some point interpreted it as me being gay, but that I haven’t admitted it to myself yet. With at least one of these friends i got to settle this and reassure them that I really am asexual. The other is really complicated, because this particular friend (who is gay himself) was really accepting and positive at first and we were glad we could come out to each other, respectively. At one point, however, he decided that overstepping my personal boundaries a little was Okay because it’s not like my boundaries Matter because I’m Ace, right? It hasn’t escalated into a serious problem – yet – but it’s very obvious in his body language that he wants me to enjoy his close company. When I next see him I’ll definitely confront him about it, I hope he’ll understand like he did before.

I really hope that fact that I crochet has nothing to do with this trend: the whole narrative of “uh this guy loves crochet and feminine things therefore he’s gay” disgusts me: there is nothing about crochet that is explicitly feminine other than the weight society puts on it.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

From said experiences above, I haven’t come across many misconceptions other than “do you masturbate? Because asexuals don’t masturbate”. ha ha. I love it how that suddenly becomes a question that is okay to ask. I feel this might be a common one encountered by male asexuals.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You don’t need anybody else do validate your sexuality, besides yourself! Also, be careful where you go looking for answers about asexuality on the internet.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Unfortunately crochet is not digital, but I do have an Instagram at www.instagram.com/gilb.e/

tpot

Thank you, Gilbert, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Marescha Muys

Today we’re joined by Marescha Muys. Marescha is a wonderful writer who occasionally dabbles in crafts. When she’s not writing, Marescha likes to crochet and embroider. Marescha is incredibly passionate about writing, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am, first and ever foremost, a writer. This of course entails the necessary procrastination, since it’s physically impossible for most humans to just sit down and write. So I do like to dabble in crochet and embroidery, though it’s mostly a fun way of flooding my friends’ houses with personalized gifts that are terrible in taste.

What inspires you?

Human relationships. But, not just the relationship that exists at that moment, but everything that has led up to that moment I’m describing. I’ve always thought every emotion is just an accumulation of past experience and few things get me as excited as conveying that thought through my writing.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I started writing when I was… 11 or 12 years old, in one of those cheap ring binders. And the thing that got me writing was reading. I’ve always been a reader and I think it’s one of the most inspiring things in the world. There are two books I distinctly remember in my childhood that quite possibly inspired me to give a go at it myself, both in Dutch. The first one was ‘Lion, a little bit’, about a scientist who thinks the world would be better off if people were more like animals and the neighbor girl that accidentally gets transformed into a lion. The second one is ‘The Gilded Fleece of Thule’ and it influenced me a lot. It also happens to contain the first romance I ever got invested in as a young person. There was nothing in your face about it, just honest feelings and a hope to make the other person happy.

I believe those books inspired me to have a go at writing. And I think I kind of grew into the role without realizing it. Even when I replied differently to adults asking me what I wanted to be, books were always in the background.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Some of my friends have mentioned my entire personality shines through in my writing. It’s something I’m very bad at hiding. Personally I’ve always believed I just tend to focus on interpersonal relationships the most, but my friends tell me it’s mostly my taste of humor that takes the spotlight. I guess there must be something unique to it, if people tell me ‘nobody else could have written it like this’.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It doesn’t matter what art you create, just make it. Daydream about it. Discuss it with others. Collect resources and read up on techniques. But the most important thing is to sit down and do it. If you spend time on your craft for a long time you will improve. Practice makes perfect.

Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re just doing it for nothing, but that isn’t true. You are creating something with your own hands, with your mind and your entire self. You’ll feel bad about it, you’ll look at others people work and go like ‘damn, I wish I could create that’. But the funny thing is, a lot of people will look at your work and think the same. Comparing your level to that of another person doesn’t help anyone, but swapping tips does help everyone.

One of my friends is amazing at describing the environment in a story. I mean, she does it better than amazing. So one day I told her that, no matter how much I practice, there’s no way I’ll ever be able to do it like her. She turns around and says, I wish I could do with dialogue what you do. No matter what I do, I can never tell as much about my characters as I want that way.

We still kind of suck at working the way the other person does. But we’ve gotten better at it in our own way and that’s pretty cool.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual all the way, though romantically I do go for men.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Most of the time people forget aces exist, in my experience. To be honest, I’m the only one where I live. I haven’t even met another ace person in real life. I was 22 when I first heard the term online, and though I’ve mentioned it to a few people, most don’t really know what I’m talking about. The concept seems to be extremely foreign to some people, which can be extremely frustrating.

I once had a long conversation about it with a friends of mine who’s solely into men sexually and romantically. He asked me how it felt for me to look at people and wondered what I felt. I told him I felt for everyone on the planet what he feels when looking at a woman. It cleared up a lot for him, though I still don’t think it’s the best way of describing asexuality.

When really necessary, I mention the asexual lifestyle just gives me that much more time for plotting world domination. Most people still think I’m joking when I say that.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

There are two that I’ve personally been confronted with. The first one can be attributed to the fact that I like men and people still think sex should be part of any relationship. I don’t mind it much, though I have ten thousand other things I’d rather be doing. When I came out to my current lover, his first thought was that I had hated every second of sexual intimacy we had. It was kind of confronting for me to hear that and it took a long time to clear up the air. I think for  any sexual person it is hard to understand where aces are coming from. After all, they feel an urge that we don’t, and it seems hard for them to comprehend they’re not doing anything wrong.

The second one is about looks. I’ve been ‘blessed’ with a curvy figure and the few times I mention I’m ace to other people one of the most common reactions is ‘no you’re not’. People seem to associate your appearance with your sexuality and that one is just frustrating to no end.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

First of all, you’re not broken. You’re not suffering from some strange defect that can be cured with the right approach. You’re just you. You’re going to feel weird at some points. It feels like the entire planet is obsessed with sex. And yes, sometimes it can feel like you’re missing out. Trust me when I say you’re not.

What does help is finding someone you can talk to, even if it’s just being able to mention ‘I found out something about myself today’.

Know what’s important to you. You can have meaningful connections with others. You have them right now. Romance, love and sex aren’t necessarily the same thing and an ace learns that lesson well. It can get hard and lonely sometimes. Reach out to others, in real life or online.

Not all aces are the same. Some of us hate sex, others are quite okay with it. It can take some puzzling to find out where you are on the scale, but no matter which position you end up in, you’re still ace if you feel you are.

Being asexual means you’re an ‘ace’. You can bring unique perspectives to the table others might miss out on. At the same time be open to the opinion of others. Mutual respect goes a long way.

And hey, all the time we save by not having sex is time we can use to plot our next great master piece.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I’ve only had one short story published so far – Glossy as part of an anthology named Blame it on my Youth. I write fanfiction as a way to blow off steam, something which I may feature on a blog I’ll be started around the 20th of January this year. It’ll mostly be stories about my life, some which will most certainly focus on asexuality. It’ll be on WordPress, Ace is a Good Word. If people should ever feel like they need someone to talk to, feel free to contact me.

In 2020 I hope to publish my first book, Love, Not Romance, about an aromantic asexual girl making a deal with the devil to wake up her best friend from a coma. I’m very excited about it, though it needs a lot of polishing.

Thank you, Marescha, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.