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.

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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.

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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?

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!

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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.

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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.

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