Interview: Hanna

Today we’re joined by Hanna. Hanna is a wonderful artist who mostly crochets. She also writes and does photography as a hobby. Hanna loves to crochet and has crocheted a bit of everything, including fandom-inspired plushies. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, 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 do a little of a lot of things. I love to write and am an English major at UC Davis. I love taking photographs, though that’s mostly a hobby right now, and I love tinkering in the kitchen and making spoonie friendly or food restriction friendly recipes. My main focus tends to be crochet though. I started teaching myself to crochet something like 7 years ago give or take a year. I started with the standard terrible scarf and moved on to plushies and blankets mainly. I work with free designs from various internet sources or create my own. I’ve made a lot of fandom inspired plushies, a few headbands, some wall hangings and even a bag.

What inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me. I started tinkering with baking and cooking because I have a lot of food allergies and a lot of my family members are diabetic. I started to love photography because it lets me capture a moment or show my point of view on things. I started writing because I’ve always wanted to tell stories. My mom says that when I was a toddler she’d try and put me down for a nap, but I’d insist on telling my own stories and she would be the one to fall asleep instead. I started crocheting as a way to cope with a lot of new pain (I have several chronic illnesses that only started showing up around that time in my life.) It also helped me cope with anxiety and depression, I could put all my feelings into the crochet and disappear into it for hours at a time. A lot of my fandom-based projects were created in bed or on the couch while I binge watched shows or listened to podcasts and audiobooks because I couldn’t really do anything else.

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

I have to give credit to Diane Duane, specifically her Young Wizards books. They are all about fighting entropy and doing your best to improve the universe. That’s what I try to do with all my art. I write to make people happy, sometimes it’s just me, other times it’s a friend who’s had a bad day, etc. I create safe foods so that I and those I love can experience a little extra pleasure and it always makes me happy to feed people I care about. And I crochet because a- it lets me create new things in the world rather than destroying anything (as a teenager I was a little too destructive in my worst moments.) and b- I can give things to people, tangible things, that make them happy. I’ve always wanted to be a writer or a creator of some sort, I’ve always wanted to make the world a better place and that has always been closely linked to being creative for me.

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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 can’t say that I do have anything quite so specific. A lot of my photographs end up featuring my pets though. I often use one of them as a model or background when I’m photographing new crochet designs too. I guess you could call that my unique signature!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep trying. It is always, always, always hard to start. It does get easier. But here’s the thing, I’ve been writing for 20 years now, I’ve been cooking since I was 3, I’ve taken photographs probably for nearly the same amount of time, and I have been crocheting for almost a decade. I still struggle with all of those things. Mistakes happen, failures happen. My best advice is go ahead, take a moment to mourn the failures, then learn from them and move forward. I take breaks from various things when I have to for health reasons, but I never give up on them.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual. I can find people aesthetically pleasing sure, but I do not experience sexual attraction to anyone, never have. Maybe one day I will, and at that point I may change how I identify, and that’s fine, sexuality is fluid, but right now, I am ace.

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

Yes. As an English Major I have taken a lot of English classes, both literature and creative writing. So many of these classes have had a lot of sexual content and a very heteronormative focus. It gets tiring and it gets uncomfortable, and there have been classes where I just had to leave the room because the discussion was too much for me. I try and take a read of the professor, I always try to approach all of these professors and explain asexuality at least once, but some of them refuse to listen and I have to back down in order to continue to feel safe in the class. My favorite professors are always the ones who start things off with offering pronouns at the start of the term and have an open-door policy to discuss any issues with the way they teach the class. Unfortunately, those professors are not as common as I’d like, but I have a feeling that might change as the next few generations step up to the playing field.

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

I think it is ‘so that means you can’t ever have a real relationship’ which is incredibly inaccurate and hurtful. I am in a relationship with another ace person, we have been together for 4 and a half years now and we are very happy together.

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

I know it can be strange and painful to not fit in with so many of your peers. It can feel like you are broken or sick or like something else is wrong and if only that one thing would change about you, you would be Normal. You are not broken, you are not wrong. I highly recommend reaching out to other ace people and talking. You are not alone.

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

Well, I have a Tumblr (Devieklutz and Deviecrochet), though I do not use it very often these days. I am frequently on the Slack for the Young Wizards fandom (youngwizards.slack.com) and we have an incredible ace community there. This fandom is the most supportive group of people I’ve ever encountered, and we have an unusually high percentage of ace members (I think it was nearly 50% as of the last survey!) I also help run a convention for the fandom: CrossingsCon (crossingscon.org) our next convention is in Montreal in June of 2019, we have plenty of badges available if anyone wants to come and hang out and meet a lot of very cool, very supportive people.

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

Interview: Anne

Today we’re joined by Anne. Anne is a phenomenal artist who specializes in crochet. She crochets the most extraordinary things: from dishcloths and scarves to actual sculptural crochet. Anne enjoys making things that make people smile. Her work is beautiful and adorable, filled with gorgeous vibrant colors. It’s clear she’s a passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon see. 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 crochet as a hobby, mostly small pieces like amigurumi (sculptural crochet) dishcloths, potholders, market bags, scarves and hats. I like to create things that make people smile or bring people comfort.

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What inspires you?

I’m inspired by people most often. I see a pattern and think of someone who could use that. I love the feeling of something coming together in my hands, stitch by stitch.

My mind becomes so engaged through my hands and my tools, that even if a project sits in a drawer after I finish it, I can pick up that piece and remember something. I love that feeling.

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

A therapist suggested I take up a hobby at a time when I was unemployed and unhappy. I had been working with one of those Nifty Knitters you find in craft stores, but I never thought of myself as a crafty or creative person. Since she crocheted, she suggested I try that; the supplies and instructions were right next to the Nifty Knitter looms, so I grabbed a book and taught myself. I never expected to succeed, but I was determined to get out of my depression.

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I tell people that it took a lot of swearing and frustration, but I sure had the time and the stubbornness. I did the basics for a while, making plenty of mistakes (I still do) Right as I was getting confident, my friend got me interested in Bloodborne. I watched Let’s Plays and chatted with him about it a lot. (Spoiler Alert) I ended up creating the Moon Presence infant from the game, a black, slug/squid like creature (it’s cuter than it sounds!) It’s the first pattern I ever drafted myself. I had to learn Amigurumi techniques first, and then prototype a bunch of different ways to create the shape. I even gave it a little sweater. In the end, he said it was a good neck pillow and his cats liked it. I knew from then on that I could create anything I wanted.

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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 don’t often have a chance to “sign” my work, so I don’t have a maker’s mark as such, but every piece feels unique. Even if I’m working off a pattern, I get to choose the yarn color and style, I have my own way of doing things and modifying it to fit my needs and desires. In the end, it’s my hands that have created it, and no one else’s hands could do it quite the same. I know every inch of that piece and it’s mine.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Play! Play is how you discover your next project, or the next skill you need to develop. Play will often inspire you to something you didn’t imagine before. The pressure to make money and produce value can often take us away from the freedom to experiment without consequences. I take a very loose philosophy with life and crochet. If there’s too much tension, you won’t be able to work with it, or the thread may even snap.

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If you feel you’ve lost your spark, it will come back, perhaps differently than before. If you get stuck on something, then maybe it’s not the time for that project to happen. The whole reason I crochet is to relax and be happy, if I get away from that, I can’t do it. Don’t loose sight of the reason you create.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and aromantic, because the basic definitions feel right to me. Beyond that, it’s complicated. I’m a fan of the word queer, because attraction is strange. I grew up with very clear, heteronormative expectations to marry and have a family, and now I have a very different concept of what that “family” could look like.

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

Mostly ignorance. If I go to knitting and crochet circles, I’m often the only queer person there, and the only single person in my age group.  Crochet is included in the “homemaking” arts, and I have zero interest in that field. People will ask, “Who are you making that for?” And more often than not, the answer is, “myself” because I don’t have a partner or kids. It can also be a good conversation starter if I’m making something in ace or gay pride colors, I get to explain why I chose them. I see more assumptions about gender when it comes to fiber arts, myself included.

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

Most people assume that it’s a function of my anxiety. It’s not. Most people assume I’m never interested in sex, or I have none of the accompanying desires. I often have to remind people that I do experience attraction, but not the way most of them are used to it. I guess the biggest misconception is that I don’t have feelings for anyone, and that I’m somehow innocent or that I’ve given up. I haven’t given up on love or people, I’ve accepted who and how I love, and I have learned to love myself and my curiosity.

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

If you’re struggling with your orientation, find other people who talk about it. Read about their It’s not always going to be a clear and fixed thing, and that’s okay. Respect that part of yourself, and you’ll learn a lot about it.

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

I’m on Reddit, u/theta394 where I post my progress and finished objects. I’m also on Pintrest at anelysis and Ravelry at SailorArtemis collecting patterns.

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

Interview: Abby Grace

Today we’re joined by Abby Grace. Abby is a wonderful writer and musician. They have been playing the cello for over ten years and are even studying for a degree in it. They’re also going for a degree in English Literature and have written both fanfiction and original poetry. As if that’s not impressive enough, Abby has also recently taken up crochet. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer and musician – specifically, I write various fanfictions, and some original poetry, and have been playing music from the age of four. My main instrument is the cello, which I’ve played for almost 12 years now. I’m lucky enough to have been able to pursue both of these passions, and am currently at university studying English Literature and picking up a minor in cello. I also recently picked up crocheting.

I’ve had two original poems published in the past, in Skipping Stones (an international children’s magazine). Personally, though, I feel most accomplished about my work whenever I receive a heartfelt review on my fanfics. I’ve actually cried over a couple of emotional reviews on a specific story, “Firsts,” which is about a trans character trying on his first binder. I also recently started sharing some of the funnier stories from my life and my family, and am considering collecting them into a book of short stories.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration everywhere – from silly things overheard in public to major life events to watching a storm roll in. Inspiration for art, no matter what medium, is everywhere.

There are a few specific people who inspire me every day, though. My grandmother, who was known locally for her amazing quilts, didn’t learn how to sew until her late twenties. I crochet to feel closer to her. Janelle Monáe, who is so unapologetically herself at every turn. Yo-Yo Ma, the best-known cellist in the world, who is still so kind and friendly as to grin widely and give a fist bump to a shy fourteen year old who plays the cello, too.

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

I’ve always loved reading and writing, it’s been an important part of me for as long as I can remember. More than half of my family is musically-inclined in some way or another, too, so it was really less of an ‘if’ I would be a musician, and more of a ‘when.’ There’s definitely a few pictures in a family album somewhere of me sitting on my grandfather’s lap at the piano, looking absolutely delighted as he shows me that pressing the keys makes sound.

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?

Hm, I don’t believe I have anything that I work into every piece I do. A lot of my poetry involves stars in some way, but that’s just because I really like space.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be discouraged by only getting a couple of notes or kudos, or even nothing at all. You still have something valuable to share with the world – the world just takes a little while sometimes to notice it. I have one fanfic that has the most kudos of that specific ship on AO3… and I have 10 fanfics with less than 30. I have even more with less than 3 comments. Don’t worry about the numbers. Focus on doing your best.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual

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

Luckily, I have yet to see anything specific in the general writing and music communities. Within fandom itself, however, I have most certainly seen people attack others for being ace and/or aro and trying to identify with a character by suggesting that they are also ace and/or aro.

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

That we are frigid, unfeeling, or that asexuality isn’t ‘a thing’ and is just ‘attention-seeking.’ I hear this most often in regards to demisexuality.

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

Be confident in yourself. And if you’re not, ask questions! Talk to the community – most people are happy to chat and help where they can. It’s something that I wish I had done more when I was younger. It could have helped me avoid a seriously bad time.

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

I’m on AO3 (DarthAbby), and Tumblr (main – butim-justharry) (side – official-cello). Please feel free to send an ask or private message to either blog if you want to talk!

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

Interview: Alex

Today we’re joined by Alex. Alex is a wonderful artist who is a bit of a jack of all trades. He does a lot of visual art, mostly drawing and painting. He also does crafts and enjoys knitting and crochet, particularly long scarves. When he’s not doing crafts or visual art, Alex also makes music and can play the ukulele. It’s clear he’s a passionate artist who enjoys what he does. 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 use my art to create things I think the world is missing, whether it’s music, or extra-large scarves, or just a painting.  My art is my outlet, it’s diverse and powerful (even when it’s just for me) and it enables me to express myself.

What inspires you?

The ability to create, to bring something into this world that causes emotion.  When I knit or crochet I am, more often than not, creating a gift to give to someone else.  When I play my ukulele I hope that someone listening can feel the emotions of the music.  I am inspired by the ability to make something that was once missing from the world.

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

I had a friend in elementary school who inspired me to create comics.  They were just stick figures, but I had so much fun coming up with jokes and stories, that even when I stopped creating comics I continued to draw.

At the same time, my family has always been very musical and so, when my nana let me play her ukulele I decided I wanted have one too.

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?

Ah, no haha, I’m too inconsistent to do something that clever.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

At times it may seem tough, but art is an outlet, it doesn’t matter if you think it’s good if you enjoy it. What matters is if you feel good while creating whatever it is you are making.  Improvement will come with practice, for now, just enjoy the ride.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and do not use the split attraction model (SAM).

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

I’m rather isolated, and I do not bring up my asexuality unless it is with people I trust, so as of current, I have not experienced any prejudice from my fellow artists.

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

That asexual means you don’t like sex.  Which is false, different people have different views on sex and just because I experience so sexual attraction does not mean that I have no libido or interest. But like I said, it’s different for everyone.

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

If you decide one that that you are not ace, that’s OK.  If you live your whole life never subscribing to a label, that’s OK.  What matters is your comfort and that others respect you. I thought I was a lesbian when I was younger because if I didn’t like guys I must have to like girls then right? But I allowed myself space to grow and now I know I am trans and asexual. There is always room to grow and explore, so don’t feel stuck with one label.

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

My music is available here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLHiHayKl58aLduLbGJShFw
And my art can be found here: Lukassskywalker.tumblr.com/tagged/my+art
And I have some things posted on RedBubble :D: https://www.redbubble.com/people/slothguard?asc=u.

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

Interview: Sweety Aurore Mutant

Today we’re joined by Sweety ‘Aurore’ Mutant. Aurore is a visual artist who does a bit of everything. They draw and paint, both digital and traditional. When they’re not drawing or painting, Aurore is writing and while they haven’t had anything published yet, they’re working on a number of stories. Aside from that, Aurore is also into crafting and writing fanfiction. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate artist, as  you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is quite diverse. I would say that my “main” medium, as in the one I spend the most time on, is writing. I am working on two novels and a short stories series right now (none are ready to be published yet because I am a perfectionist) and in the meantime I work on a lot of fanfictions (I have been writing a fanfiction about a 60s movie since July 2016, it’s about 75k words long now and not yet finished. Not yet published either, because it needs to be perfect, by that I mean good enough). I am also writing on a few Larp and video game projects right now. Yes, I multi-task. When I write, I am mostly obsessed with the concepts of subjectivity and points of view. How reality can change depending on who you are. (This must be why I love Larping so much)

I also draw/paint, both digitally and traditionally. Fanart and original art alike -plants, people, original characters, commissions…-  I like pencil drawings and watercolour the most, even though I try my best to draw with ink, because it looks so gorgeous! Also Photoshop is my best friend, I spend several hours in a row often to paint on photoshop the details of something.

I also like to take pictures -mainly of plants and people, but sadly my old camera is dead and I haven’t yet found the money to buy a good one again. I have a few filming ideas too (mainly co-ops) but again, lack of material.

I also knit, crochet and sew, mainly costumes but also a few clothing items for myself or friends. I did cosplay long ago, but decided to leave the community,

Lastly, I also do happenings, of which there are rarely any picture. My next one with involve old domestic objects and plants, I will try to record its process.

What inspires you?

So many things! The people I see in the street, the world around me, my friends and their awesome ideas (I remember painting Henry David Thoreau as a hispter because of a university friend…), the Larps I play, the video games I play, the books I read, the shows and movies I watch… I have no shame about doing fanart and fanfiction, it is as worthy and honourable for me than any other form of “original” art. (Yes, I am a proud believer in the monomyth and the fact that there is no real “original” idea, and that the re-telling and the ways of representing is the only thing that matters, hence the important place of fan-work in my conception of art). Another source of inspiration for me is also the social and environmental context (I am working right now on an environmentalist happening).

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

What got me interested? Oh what a difficult question! I began drawing and painting as soon as I could hold a pen, and writing once I knew how to. I was a very curious child/teen, so I learnt to knit, crochet, sew, embroider, and I soon made my own costumes and cosplays. Taking pictures and filming came later, when I was in High School because I studied cinema and arts then, and had access to good quality material. Writing for larps came also later, when I was more inside the community but I remember writing roleplaying games in middle school already.

I have always wanted to be an artist, yes. I tried to convince myself that I wanted to do other things as jobs to earn money, but yes, even studying for a Linguistics Masters like I do now, I know that in the end, I am meant for art.

K family
K Family

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 have a signature I have been using since I was 13 or so, and writing this I realise how long ago that was, oh my! It’s a “R” in the right corner of the drawing/painting/picture, and at first I decided to use it for three reasons: it is the only consonant of my first name, it is a homophone of “air” which is my element, and it is the first letter of the pseudo I was using back then. As time went on, I also realised it was the initial of the first name of my idol and the rébus of the fictional character I relate to the most (Grantaire in Les Misérables)… two things I had not thought about at all when I chose that signature, and because of that I like it even more!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Work, work, work. Fail, hate your work. Work again, be proud for a day or two, hate it a week after. It’s normal to be proud of something and then to hate it, it’s normal to be envious of other people’s work, it’s normal to be discouraged, and it does not mean that you are not good. There will always be people who are better than you, and people who will be worse and jealous of you. Just keep working, and work for yourself. Do it for the fun, for the art. No one will be mad at you if you can’t finish something, if you abandon a drawing or a draft. If they are, they did not deserve you in the first place. Your art should be made for your own enjoyment first. Be selfish.

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Marika

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as panromantic grey-asexual, or as I like to say it, I love everybody too bad I don’t like them. I really need to be in a very “special” relationship with the person to consider having sex with them, and I noticed that is had a lot to do with how much I find them interesting on the intellectual side of things.

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

I have, mainly ignorance, incomprehension and the same old clichés than everywhere else. When I face an ignorant person in my field that is open-minded, I handle it by helping hem understand what asexuality is. If the person is, forgive my vocabulary, an imbecile that just want to cling to clichés and not learn, I handle it with a raised middle finger,

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Silver

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

The old “you haven’t found the right person yet/it’s a phase” bullshit. What hurts the most for me is that I see such misconceptions about aces in communities like feminists or LGBT+ that, I hoped, should have been more open-minded than your usual human. I most of the time get this feeling that people just don’t try to understand aces.

teach
Teach

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

I would say… labels don’t matter, as long as you feel good. You don’t have to fit into a category, what you feel and how you live it -alone or with how many partners you wish- is the only thing that matters in the end. Sexuality is fluid, don’t be afraid to change, as long as you feel right about yourself. Also, you’re the only one who know yourself, don’t let toxic people influence you towards anything you don’t feel comfortable with.

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

Mainly my Tumblr for my drawings/paintings: The Artful DodgeR’s Tea Rooms (http://sweetymutant.tumblr.com/) because my DeviantArt has been dead for too long. I will probably create a YouTube and Twitch channel soon, but have not yet found the time to! To read me, there is my AO3, Sweety_Mutant: (https://archiveofourown.org/users/Sweety_Mutant/pseuds/Sweety_Mutant)

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

Interview: Pesky

Today we’re joined by Pesky. Pesky is a wonderful fanartist and crafter. They write a lot of fanfiction, specializing in queer relationships. When they’re not writing fanfiction, Pesky enjoys doing crafts and specializes in knitting and crochet. They sell their work on Etsy. It’s very clear that Pesky is a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fanfiction in whatever fandom I’m in at the moment, usually involving very little romance and when there is romance, it never involves straight characters. Even my m/f relationships tend to involve at least one non-straight or non-cis character.

I knit and crochet a lot, and I usually have at least five different projects at any given time. Since I don’t usually make things my friends and family would enjoy, I’ve recently opened an Etsy shop to give those projects I have no use for a home. The completed project I’m currently most proud of is a triangle shawl I made out of wool scraps from an old elementary school finger knitting project.

Sewing is a recent addiction to my repertoire, mainly for the purpose of practicality and cheap small useful things.

What inspires you?

In fandom, my friends and my conversations with them are often my inspiration for my writing. Besides that, I try to fill absences and correct flaws in the source material. (We exist, after all, and yet, very few of us ever make it into mainstream media.)

In my crafting efforts I’m much more focused on aesthetics. I make things that I enjoy looking at, that I enjoy touching and wearing. Also, novelty. I have a terrible attention span, so I’m always on the lookout for new patterns, new techniques, new interesting projects, new challenges. (This is also why I have so many projects going at once.)

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

Actually, it’s all my mother’s fault.

She’s the one who introduced me to fanfic, because she found Twilight fic on deviantArt and was like, hey, I think my kid would like this! Eventually I started writing my own fic and poetry, and besides extended writer’s blocks caused by depression and anxiety, I haven’t stopped since I was fourteen. Now I’m almost twenty-four.

Mom was also the one who taught me to knit. I used to go to her to get help with casting on because I couldn’t figure it out how to do it for the longest time. These days I have things to teach her.

Crocheting on the other hand, I taught myself via YouTube, because my sister’s been crocheting for years and I wanted to learn this skill too. The differences and similarities with knitting have made it a valuable learning experience and the fact that many crocheted projects can be completed very quickly makes it much easier for me when my attention span is especially short.

Sewing is pretty much the only lasting gift my grandmother gave me. Everything else I learned from her has turned out to be toxic, bigoted cow manure.

All of my creative work comes from skills I discovered as a teenager and adult. I don’t think I would’ve gotten here any other way. And I look forward to continuing to learn new things.

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 Etsy projects all get a tag sewed on with my shop name and username on it, but other than that, I don’t think I’ve got anything besides my Tumblr profile pic, which I drew myself.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before but the best thing you can do is practice. Find exercises for practicing common techniques in your chosen medium and repeat them over and over again.

Write all the terrible awful things you can. Trust me, you’ll learn from your mistakes.

Knit a hundred ugly uneven scarves or hats or legwarmers or whatever. You’ll learn a lot.

Draw all the unrealistic little sketches, paint all the paintings in badly chosen colors, sew all the weird little unusable bags.

Do research and then try out all the things you learn. Keep doing it until it starts looking like something you’re happy with. And in the meantime, forgive yourself for making mistakes. You’ll never stop making mistakes, you’ll just learn to fix them or make them look like they’re deliberate.

And keep in mind that practice and hard work always wins out over talent. Talent is a head start, not the goal.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and aromantic.

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

I’m lucky to have never directly encountered ace prejudice beyond the general “aces are basically cishets and they’re stealing lgbt+ resources”. But I’ve never encountered that kind of thing directed at me so I’m honestly not sure what I’d do if I did.

In fact, almost all of the close friendships I’ve made in fandom are with other aces. A funny coincidence, since I searched out fellow fans, not fellow aces.

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

“It’s just celibacy.” I’ve actually been told that to my face at a pride parade when I explained to someone that the colors of my clothes are the same as on the ace flag. I was still pretty new to the whole ace thing and ended up totally speechless.

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

Kinda depends on what exactly they’re struggling with.

In general, I’d say, find people who are struggling with similar things or who have struggled with similar things. Talk to them, try following their advice and give yourself time. Stop talking to people who make you feel guilty, ashamed or insecure about your identity.

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

I’m on Tumblr, Archive of Our Own and on Etsy. My username is peskylilcritter on pretty much every platform. My Etsy shop is, creatively, peskylilshop and my Tumblr writing sideblog is peskywritesstuff.

On my main Tumblr, I usually tag my writing with #pesky writes stuff and every other creative endeavor with #pesky makes stuff.

Feel free to come visit! And if you’ve got any more questions, my ask box is always open 😉

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

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.

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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.

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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?

*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.

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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.

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