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: Alie Schnabel

Today we’re joined by Alie Schnabel, who goes by Astringent online. Alie is a wonderful up and coming visual artist who does a bit of everything. Her favorite mediums are printmaking and sculpture, though she has also done painting, weaving, sewing, ceramics, and book making. Alie hopes to open a community art center and she is clearly a dedicated and passionate 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.

Oh geez. My work is kind of all over the place, I’ve done painting, printmaking, ceramics, weaving, sewing, I made a book recently, as well as a myriad of other things. My favourite mediums are sculpture and printmaking, although I still have a lot to learn. I’m still in college so I’ve been pretty busy with assignments I haven’t had the time to just create what I want to. The end goal is to run my own community art center where I’ll have a studio for myself.

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What inspires you?

The deadline? For real though I try to make my art personal. A lot of what I’ve been doing lately has been on a prompt since I am currently in school, but I try to make it relevant to my experiences, and to have a deeper meaning. Some of my favourite recent work has actually been about asexuality, most of it is craftier in nature as it comes from my Activism and Textiles class (although, if you ask me ‘crafty’ art like sewing and weaving doesn’t get enough recognition as an art form). A lot of my paintings take a fairly heavy topic and use a childlike style to make it seem almost fun while retaining that somber theme (like Time is Running out for Jeff, my piece with the balloon dog)

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

I’ve always loved art and I think deep down I always knew that it was what I wanted to do, but of course, people told me that it was impractical. In grade school there were so many things that I wanted to do; forensic scientist, veterinarian, anthropologist, psychologist, and even a pilot for a while, but I kept coming back to what I loved most. I think what really solidified my decision was my art teacher my senior year, he was always there for me and was always so inspiring (even during his amazing feminist rants about how awful and degrading the Carl’s Jr. commercials were). I guess I just realised that I wanted to inspire people the way he inspired 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 have a tag that I leave places, usually with chalk or sharpie, I got to use spray paint once on a boulder on the side of the freeway (chill. the rock is a local landmark because everyone spray paints it) Anyway, the tag is a little bird, sometimes I’ll give him a little crown and he becomes bird king. It doesn’t show up in my actual work though, at least not yet.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I don’t know if I’m the best person to give advice, since, I, myself am an aspiring artist. I guess what I would say is; “don’t listen to those who degrade you or your work, even if that person is yourself”. I know that I am my own worst critic and I usually hate what I create. However, I know that’s not healthy and I’m working to overcome that (yay counseling) seriously though, as long as you are creating for the right reasons, you are making a difference and that’s what matters in the end.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic Asexual. But I do deeply love those who are close to me and I’ll fight anyone who says platonic love can’t be as strong as romantic love.

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

Not yet, I’ve been lucky, especially in such a conservative college town. Although I don’t really put myself out there other than in-class critiques when my pieces directly correlate with asexuality. I usually start out by saying something like “I’m happy to answer any questions, but if you’re just going to be a jerk you can just shove it” I tend to be pretty blunt and without much of a filter, so it usually comes out a bit more ‘colourful’ than that, though my teachers so far have thought my little disclaimer is funny.

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

I haven’t noticed one more than the others at this point, since I only recently came out, a memorable one is my mum asking “So do you like girls then?” that’s about is as far as asexuality goes. I get a lot more crap for my aromanticism though, mostly people assuming I don’t love others, or that I’m cold and distant. I like to think I’m a pretty friendly person, and I genuinely love the people close to me.

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

Stop it. I know the world can suck sometimes, but people are inherently good, and you will find people who accept you for who you are. There is nothing wrong with you, but there is also no shame in reaching out for guidance if that’s what will help. Also, if anyone gives you crap tell them I’ll beat them up.

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

Oof. My Tumblr is a bit of a mess, but I might post some work on there, it should be ada-refractor. I do post some stuff on my Instagram, that one is agentastringent.

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

Interview: Britani Palazzolo

Today we’re joined by Britani Palazzolo. Britani is an awesome artist who is incredibly versatile and works in a variety of mediums. She does a lot of papercrafts and other visual arts. When she’s not drawing, Britani does a lot of writing and some baking as well. Her work shows a fascinating sort of surrealism. It’s very clear she’s an incredibly dedicated and passionate 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 do a little bit of everything! I write, draw, sew, bake, papercraft, paint… If there’s an art medium out there, I’ve probably tried it haha! I usually jump around from one to the other, so right now I’m working on papercrafts mostly (my current project is making one for each Overwatch character) but I’ll probably drift back to drawing or writing soon. I mainly draw my OCs or myself, and I love drawing cute but gross stuff and object heads. I draw traditionally sometimes, but most of the time I use Adobe Illustrator because I love how it works with my style. I’ve been doing art since I can remember, and I’ve watched my style change over the years and it brings me a lot of joy just doing something with my hands. There’s really no telling what I’ll come up with next.

What inspires you?

I guess that depends on what I’m doing. If I’m drawing, usually it’s movies or other media because I’ll make a self-insert character or an AU for my OCs and draw according to that. I think my friends inspire my writing a lot of the time because we bounce around ideas and I just have to get them out! I also draw a lot of creepy/gore things, so catch me at Halloween time really inspired! Fandom also inspires me, but sometimes I’m afraid to contribute fanart because I compare myself to others (a bad habit I know, but I’ve been working on it!) and will instead stick with my own characters haha! I also use my own life as a lot of inspiration, including the fact that I’m ace. I make music playlists (I guess you could call that an art?) and I have an “All Your Favs Are Ace” series which are just character playlists based on my headcanons of characters being on the ace spectrum. I’ve written a fic involving a character coming out to their partner as a sex repulsed ace which I based largely on my own feelings and experiences. Music is also a huge inspiration provider, as well as long showers!

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

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to be creative and do art projects. Art class was always my favorite thing about school, and I would make things at home all the time. It was really in high school that I started figuring out that this was a real thing that I could do with my life. I learned a lot about digital art in high school, and had some great teachers that helped me along, so I decided to go to college for an Art Education degree. At the time I was working in a fabric store so I was teaching myself to sew and cross stitch, and in school I learned about oil paints and charcoal. I got to try every medium and it was fantastic! The chips fell as they do, and I got into baking and cake decorating. So, instead of teaching, now I bake and do art on the side!

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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 sign everything with my initials, but it’s not very special haha! If I sew anything for someone though, I attach a little tag that I made that says “Handcrafted”. I hand carved the stamp used to make these tags on an eraser, so I guess that’s kind of cool! Other than that I think it’s just my personal drawing style that is pretty unique. I tend to over exaggerate certain features (legs for example) and simplify others (feet).

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do not stop. If someone tells you that you can’t do something, you look them in the eye and you do the thing and you keep doing it until they close their mouth. It might take a while, but if it makes you happy, just keep going. Art is what you make of it. There are no rules!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a sex repulsed asexual panromantic!

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

I haven’t had a lot directed specifically at me (except somebody once didn’t like my ace playlists and called me homophobic for making them, which baffled me), but the first year I went to the pride parade in my area only ONE booth sold ace flags and they were those tiny ones on sticks. When I went to pride this year, I was hoping maybe asexuality had gotten a little more out there, but again only ONE booth sold the full size flags and the people at the booth had very little knowledge on the subject (didn’t know which flag I wanted until I pointed directly at it, didn’t know if they had any more ace merch, etc). Mostly I just ignore it or roll with it. If there is an opportunity, I will attempt to educate people on the matter, but most people spouting ignorance don’t want to learn, so I’ve found there’s not much point in trying.

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

That ALL ace people HATE sex/anything to do with sex/are innocent pure beings who don’t know anything about sex! It makes me laugh because I know so many ace people who are very sex positive, a lot are very kinky in their own ways, and are in no way ‘innocent and pure’. People assume you’re an emotionless robot (especially if you’re aro ace, I’m so sorry to those guys) and it just astounds me.

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

It’s alright to take your time learning about your sexuality, and do lots of research, read a lot of info! I thought I was straight until about the first year of college (19 years old or so), and from there I was maybe bi, but something just didn’t feel right about that. It was only once I started seeing a lot of info about the ace spectrum on Tumblr that I was like “Hold on… this sounds like me!” I identified as demisexual for a while, but did some more research, did some soul searching, and decided to go with full asexual. But just know that this could change too! Sexuality is fluid. Just go with the flow, meet people, make friends, maybe fall in love? Who knows!

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

You can find me basically anywhere on the internet by the same username: ranebowstitches
I’m most active on Tumblr, AO3, Instagram, and 8tracks.

Pop by and say hi! I love to chat!

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

Interview: Lehenne

Today we’re joined by Lehenne. Lehenne is an amazingly versatile artist who dabbles in a bit of everything. They currently have a book out, which they’re trying to get some buzz for, so please check out their links (their work features prominent LGBT+ characters as well as angels, demons, and maybe even an apocalypse). Aside from writing, Lehenne dabbles in a number of visual arts and even enjoys singing. They’re clearly a passionate and dedicated 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 love every kind of art. I sculpt, I paint, I sing (I’m probably driving my colleagues crazy over this one), I do origamis and engraving, I knit and sew, I also dabble in the art of Bonsaïs…

Ano, dragged out of heaven

But most of all, I draw and I write. Like, an unhealthy amount. It’s my thing, when I do something, I don’t do anything else until I bore myself out of it. And I love the art of words (the puns, spoonerisms and malaphors, oh my colleagues, my poor colleagues!)

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What inspires you?

My dreams! I dream all the time always. To the point where I eagerly wait for any alone time to do so without distractions. And when I’m not dreaming, I’m doing art… Or looking at it. And my dreams are inspired by everything that surrounds me; To the films I watch at the cinema and the TV series I follow, the museums I visit and the images I come across on Internet, the ancient mythologies and the comic books, nature’s work of art and pareidolia I catch on my tile floor, to the medieval choruses and chiptune I listen to.

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

I’ve always been drawing, since I can remember; my oldest memory is of me drawing in kindergarten. And I’ve started to read and write in sixth grade after my French professor (I’m French so the equivalent would be your English professor) gave us this short stories book, and I flashed on it; I mean, a light went on in my head, and I thought to myself “that’s it, I want to write. Create my own stories and share with everyone.” Watching movies and reading books, that’s good and all, but I thought to myself, my dreams deserve to be written down, if only for my own consumption. I have so many plot bunnies in my short stories’ file.

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As to wanting to be an artist, I don’t think I ever had a choice, it’s my life, and I don’t think I could bear going through it without doing art. It’s not what pays the bills right now, but I hope the current book I’m working on will launch me into the fabulous world of paid authors. For now, I share it for free on the site “Booksie”.

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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 enjoy writing about supernatural characters, going inside their head and change the way I think to show an original point of view. I love drawing winged characters, probably because it’s my dream to fly (Yeah, I know, how original). I’ve also been told my original portraits’ style is somewhat always androgynous. My current book (see link below), regroups all that, I realised just now!

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

DON’T study art. Study whatever else you’re interested in. But always keep art on the sidelines, never give it up. And when you’re set in your life, with what society calls a “real job”, you’ll have every occasion to art and live from it. With your hard-earned money, you’ll buy as much art supply as you wish, and you’ll art whenever wherever.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m relatively new to this part, I’ve found all those amazing descriptions and denominations earlier this year. But I can affirm that I’m asexual and aromantic. I’m also pretty sure I’m agender, but I can’t be certain (I don’t really know what a gender is supposed to feel like, but I suspect, from my fascination with agender characters and my agender dream alter ego I’ve thought up when I was six and still imagine stories for, that that’s what I am).

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

I’ve never come out, so that’s going to be difficult to answer. I don’t feel like saying, “I don’t do that” to somebody, that would just be… odd? Also, I don’t hang out with many people, but! One conversation I’ve had with a lively colleague did stir in that direction. When I bluntly said that I was aromantic and told her what it was, she simply said, “That’s not possible, ‘cos you aren’t a snail!” I’m still unsure what that means, but it did discourage me to ever talk about it again (I’m the epitome of shyness and introversion, so…) It still hasn’t come up again.

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

Mmh. When I was little, I would ask how I was supposed to know and feel like when I’d fall in love. I’ve always been told, “You’ll know”. But I never did. And I went through my teenage years thinking I would know when I’d want to have sex with someone. But I never did. I don’t think I answered that question correctly, but I don’t really know what to say, we don’t talk about sexuality much, here in France; People just kind of just openly lust over random people, and we don’t go beyond that. So if like me, you don’t lust over people, you just don’t say anything. I do have been called a prude for not enjoying sexualizing strangers, though.

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

Don’t struggle? I have never given it any thought, really, it just seemed like a natural thing to me. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if I should be (sexually/romantically) attracted to people I found attractive, but the answer has always been “nope”. I’ve just found out it was aesthetic attraction (because I love art so much!) So really, I don’t know what to say to people that don’t feel comfortable with who they are.

Just know that you aren’t alone, there are plenty of good people around to support and love you. With some introspection, you might even come to terms with and enjoy who you are!

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

Here’s the link for my current book (It’s a work in progress): https://www.booksie.com/502306-dragged-out-of-heaven

If there’s any French speakers around, I also have another book here (still free): https://www.404-factory.fr/story/feroces-heros

As for my drawing, I haven’t spent much time on my Tumblr blog yet (I’m still new and haven’t yet completely understood how it worked), but I will make some efforts to post stuff on it in the near future: https://lehenne.tumblr.com/)

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Thank you, Lehenne, 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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.