Interview: Amanda

Today we’re joined by Amanda, who also goes by doctortreklock. Amanda is a delightful and incredibly talented artist who specializes in crochet. She crochets a bit of everything from pot holders to little models. When she’s not crocheting, Amanda dabbles in fanfiction, mostly Supernatural. It’s obvious she loves what she does, which makes for a great interview. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

IMG_2101

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a crocheter.  I make (a lot of) pot holders, these days. But I’ve also made butterfly ornaments, bookmarks, and bags.  I’m a bit of a spinner also, and have been known to write a bit of fanfiction, mostly Supernatural.

What inspires you?

I love the flexibility that crochet gives me (I wasn’t really getting that with knitting).  I love being able to just start with a circle and make something.  I like trying to find ways to make utilitarian pieces efficiently or to make existing patterns more efficient.

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

I had been knitting before, but I really started crocheting in college.  My mom had taught me the basics when I was in high school, but I hadn’t really used it until it was my junior year of undergrad and I had a paper to write.  I had some yarn already from my stalled knitting projects and I borrowed a hook from a friend and ta-da!  I’ve always loved trying to find new, creative ways to think about things, whether it be math problems or crochet problems.

IMG_2122

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?

*chuckles*  Um, no?  Not that I know of, at least.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just do something. Start small.  Go with it.  Don’t be afraid to mess up, you can always try again differently next time.  Make this one unique.

IMG_2239

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an aromantic(-ish?) asexual.

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

Not really.  I have been fortunate enough to not have to deal with a lot of prejudice.  If there are people I know who would say things about it, they haven’t said them to me.

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

I really only have one. I was seeing a counselor on campus and we were talking about my orientations and how I wasn’t absolutely sure I was aro, but was sticking with it for the time being.  He asked me if I thought identifying as aromantic might be hurting my chances at a future romantic relationship.  Insert eyeroll here.

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

It’s okay to not have it figured out.  I’ve gone through several labels myself.  There is only one queer person I know who hasn’t questioned their romantic/sexual identity at some point and he’s gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide. It’s fine.  You’ll figure it out at some point.  😀

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

My Tumblr is doctortreklock, and I’m on AO3 under the same.  My Etsy is HarmoniaThreadwork.

IMG_5321

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

Interview: Matthew J-B

Today we’re joined by Matthew J-B. Matthew is a wonderful artist who specializes in crafts. He does quite a bit of crafting, a little bit of everything in fact. He does crochet, sewing, yarn spinning as well as things like paper craft and duct tape craft. He even does some cooking. Matthew is an incredibly dedicated and enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

buggies2

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I craft.  I make everything that I know how to make.  I crochet, spin yarn, sew, sculpt, paper craft, duct tape craft, rainbow loom, paint, make bath products and cook.

What inspires you?

Mostly what makes me happy inspires me.  I create thing for friends, family (including my critters) and sometimes just for myself. My best friend is also a very good and positive muse.  They inspire me to create things to make people happy.  I am also inspired by my spirituality and my devotion to my path. I have a close connection to Hephaestus, god of artisans.

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

I grew up surrounded by all sorts of crafting materials.  My mother has always had crochet projects and my grandmother before her is a leader in her retirement communities crafting circles.

DSC_0223

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 do work with a lot of bird and animal imagery in my paper crafts since my parrots are such a huge part of my life.  But as far as universal signatures in my work, not so much.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just keep making.  You will find a medium you click with and maybe that is the one you love but sometimes you will love the look of painting but be predisposed to being better at crochet.  Nowhere is it written you can’t do both!  You can diversify and work on both what you are good at and what you love.  You have enough creativity to do it all!

DSC_0260

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a panromantic and probably asexual at this stage in my life but I am still exploring labels right now.  (I am also a somewhat fluid trans man which makes things just a little more complicated)

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

I have encountered a little since most of my crochet, spinning and scrapbooking is taught and expected of cis, straight women.  The expectation is to be creating for kids or a partner… whereas I have neither and don’t really want either.  But as far as outright prejudice, I have been lucky and most I come into contact with are understanding.

DSC_0282

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

That it is one or the other. Most people I have mentioned it to expect someone who is asexual to be entirely non-sexual, this simply isn’t the case.  I do have a sex drive… I just don’t want to do anything about it with anyone.

I have also encountered the concept that because I am not interested in a sexual partner I must have been sexually assaulted.  I am lucky that I have not been, and even if I had, that knowledge is not for public consumption.

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

Explore on your own terms. You don’t have to pick terms right away, you don’t have to ever pick labels if you don’t want to.  It is your life and your identity.  It is entirely up to you how much if anything you explain to others.

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

I post quite a bit to my Tumblr:  ravenbara.tumblr.com

I also have an Etsy shop where I share a lot of my crafts at www.etsy.com/shop/RavenBara

Thank you so much for listening to me ramble!  I hope you find your way.

DSC_0316

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

Interview: Fereby

Today we’re joined by Fereby. Fereby is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She’s mostly a singer who has a wide vocal range. When she’s not singing, Fereby does a bunch of different kinds of crafts like knitting and sewing. If that weren’t impressive enough, Fereby also does a bit of visual art as well. It’s clear she’s a very dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

IMG_0362

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

First and foremost, I am a vocalist. I have been singing in my high school choirs for four years, three of which I’ve been in the advanced choir. I recently participated in the ACDA honor choir at the regional and state levels. I love choir because I love to harmonize; singing without harmony gets boring quickly. In choir I usually sing soprano, but I’ve gotten so tired of singing the melody that I take any chance I get to sing lower parts. I have a satisfyingly wide vocal range that allows me to sing most tenor (higher male) parts up through the highest soprano (high female) notes, which is nothing but fun for me since I like variety.

IMG_1430

I also love to make things with my hands. I cook, sew, knit, crochet, draw, paint, craft. I make tiny animals out of chewy candies and kneaded erasers. I daydream about building things, and would build them had I the time and means to do so. I just love to make stuff, but on a day-to-day basis when I have to go to school, I tend to stick to drawing and singing, with an occasional poem or short story if I feel like it. I may or may not be mildly obsessed with being able to do everything.

IMG_1060

Visually, I mostly focus on pencil and paper and other readily accessible traditional media. I do use a free mobile application, Adobe Ideas, which lets me do some simple digital drawings in a very nice vector format. I generally don’t have the time or patience to work with the digital medium for most of my ideas, but it’s great fun for playing with color.

IMG_1108

What inspires you?

The way I see it, there are two kinds of inspiration. The “idea” kind and the “inspirational speech/quote” kind. I get ideas from everywhere, anything, from random thoughts that pop into my head at all times of day and night. Sometimes I take them and run with them, sometimes they don’t get very far before I give up or move on to a better one, but ideas are abundant and everywhere and totally random. The other kind, the motivational kind, tends to come from people I admire. Professional choral conductors are highly skilled at being inspiring. (I suspect it’s a trained skill, because without it they would not be able to so easily win the enthusiastic cooperation of a hundred plus people in a short enough amount of time to begin making good music.) However, I also find inspiration and motivation watching some of my favorite YouTubers like Josh Sundquist and the Green brothers, John and Hank.

IMG_1112

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

Both of my parents sing, so from almost the day I was born my life has been influenced by music. My parents wanted to get me piano lessons when I was little, but they were told my hands were too small and so they focused on teaching me to sing instead. I have never had private formal vocal training, but years in choir have taught me a lot about technique and improved my technical skills tremendously.

IMG_1470

My interest in drawing came from I-don’t-know-where. Little kids are encouraged to draw and color and otherwise be creative, and I guess I just never really lost interest in that. There have been periods of time where I didn’t bother to do any drawing, but I keep coming back to it.

IMG_1278

I have always considered myself somewhat artistic, and there were times in my childhood when I aspired to become a singer professionally, but because of my skills in math and language I am continually overwhelmed by all the things I could be and have trouble thinking of myself as any one thing. I currently consider myself an artist, but in a very general sense of the word. I participate in too many forms of creativity to call myself anything more specific.

IMG_1382

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 an established one, no. I keep changing my signature on my visual art as I mature and get new ideas, but it’s usually some version of my first and last name in swoopy artistic lettering. Music-wise, I don’t do enough original work to warrant a signature, but my usual vocal style tends to include smooth, clear tones that blend well in harmonies or with soft guitar accompaniment. The songs I write tend to sound like lullabies, as I usually prefer to sing in a relaxed style and focus on melody. I have no experience writing high-energy songs.

IMG_1519

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You do you. Skill and experience are important to do anything well, but at the end of the day, art is about making things, and it’s up to you what you add to this world. Do what you enjoy. Make something you can be proud of. Especially with performing arts, your audience will enjoy your art much more if you enjoy making it. If you’re bored and tired of what you’re making, your audience may notice and be bored along with you. So do things you like to do.

IMG_1620

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic asexual. I still haven’t figured out what gender is.

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

I’m not really out among musicians, and I don’t really have a community when it comes to visual art, but there are always people in my life who don’t understand. I tend to just put up with whatever comes my way, though not without doing my best to correct misconceptions first. People don’t tend to give up their preconceived notions so easily though.

IMG_1646

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

For some reason, I keep encountering people who think they know what I’m feeling better than I do. When I honestly disclose my experiences, they express disbelief that it’s possible for me to feel that way, and then tell me what they think I must be feeling based on what I’ve told them. They can’t imagine how anyone could possibly not have a sex drive or sexual attraction, and they are incapable of understanding that wanting to experience kissing or other romantically-coded activities does not equate to romantic attraction.

IMG_2108

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

Listen to yourself. No one can decide how you feel about something but you. Learning about the experiences of other people who came to identify on the ace spectrum can be a tremendous help in giving you a frame of reference as to what your orientation might be, and there are plenty of blogs on Tumblr dedicated to patiently answering the questions of people just like you. Just remember that the words you attach to yourself should be there because you feel they are right and not because someone told you that’s what you probably are.

IMG_1983

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

I don’t currently have an internet presence as an artist, but that may change at some nebulous point in the future. Any information about my art will most likely be posted to my Tumblr at ferebypie.

IMG_1661

Thank you, Fereby, 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.

Blanket
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

Digestive Tract
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

OP hat 2
OP Hat

Thank you, Inu, 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.

1

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.

2

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.

3

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.

4

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

5

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.

selfie

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: Lon

Today we’re joined by Lon. Lon is a fantastic visual artist who also does a lot of crocheting and writing. She hasn’t met a medium she doesn’t like. Lon is an incredibly passionate artist who loves creating, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

img_0005

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well I guess I should start out by saying that I draw primarily in traditional style using pencil, ink, and markers. But I do also dabble in digital artwork. I also crochet everything from blankets to hats to fingerless gloves. I write as well and I am currently, working on a novel which I hope to publish.

What inspires you?

My digital artwork is inspired by stained glass windows and my traditional artwork is inspired by old school storybook style artwork.

As for what I draw, I tend to step outside and look at the area around me or look back over old vacation photographs. I live in Iowa near the Loess Hills on the boarder of South Dakota and Nebraska. It’s an absolutely beautiful area; especially in the fall. I tend to pull inspiration for my crocheting from the colors in nature and what kind of patterns I see among the forested area near me.

For my writing I pull inspiration from authors like C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, R.R. Martin, Brian Jacques, Patrick Rothfuss, J.K. Rowling, and Ted Dekker. Each of them unique in their own right and amazing at how they pull all the pieces together. I strive to create as unique and indepth works as they have.

img_0008

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

I started out drawing traditionally very young. I would see both of my parents drawing and tried to draw along with them. My mother drew mostly with charcoal or oil pastels and though I grew to dislike both mediums simply because I draw more finely I still admire how beautiful her artwork is. My father drew with pencils and ink. His style of more precise and realistic sketches eventually inspired my personally style, although I kept my moms more whimsical and storybook tone in whatever I drew.

As for my crocheting, my mother taught me. I distinctly remember watching her crochet when I was young and trying to copy her for years until my mom decided ihad enough coordination to handle using the crochet hook and string. From there I took off on my own trying to teach myself as I went and learning her more unique tricks and stitches along the way. The style of crochet I use was apparently invented jointly by my mother and my great grandmother and is unique compared to most stitching styles. I didn’t know this until recently when a stranger made thr observation but I am delighted to know that I’ve continued something unique to my family.

The inspiration for wanting to write in general and my writing is more difficult to pinpoint. I would have to say the roots of it started with my dad reading to b before bed. My dad used to read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and later Harry Potter with different voices and brought the stories to life. I would have to say that looking over that period of my life it must have been then that I realized somedayI wanted to create a story that would bring people together and create fond memories as well.

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?

As I touched on with my crochet work I use a unique stitch that I’m quite fond of but for my artwork I tend to combine a storybook style into everything I draw. I rarely use full realism but rather draw in a very stylized way. With my writing I strive to bring in detail without overloading the story. I try to “paint” the world I see in my head fro my readers to see as they read.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, study anatomy, do your research, and don’t give up. It took me nearly twenty years of constant practice to get where I am on all of my pusuits. Also for crocheting, make sure you’re stretching and holding your fingers/wrists correctly or you’ll hurt yourself.

img_0009

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’ve only recently realized I’m in the asexual spectrum but I’m comfortable in saying that I’m asexual.

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

Mostly I’ve seen ignorance or confusion with the few people I’ve worked up the courage to talk to about it. I’m not “out” quite yet as I’m still learning about it myself.

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

Just from observations on Tumblr and online in general I’ve seen a lot of misconceptions and denial. In person? Again I’m not out yet so I’m admittedly naive of people’s perceptions in my area.

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

Find a community, do your research, and I guess realize ultimately you aren’t broken. You never were.

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

You can find me on DeviantArt at Ecanusiofiel or StarryFeathers. I crocheting stuff will be up on an Etsy shop eventually once I’ve finished a few more pieces to post.

img_0586

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