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!

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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/

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

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