I first came across artist Vincent Green-Hite of Knot Bad over on Instagram where I was charmed by his creative use of photography that made his adorable amigurumi stand out in the sea of visual noise. I found his website and Etsy store, which made me even more interested in his work, but I was truly won over when I listened to his terrific podcast interview on My Big Story with Christopher Swan. Vincent is talented but humble, giving a lot of credit to the awesome creative community around him for their support, as he shares his story of being unsure what to do with himself in college and ultimately leaving and discovering crochet.
In the podcast, Vincent shares that a friend’s mom had mentioned crochet and it always stuck in his mind, keeping him fascinated for a long time even though he made several unsuccessful attempts at learning it. He often didn’t feel confident, feeling a bit lost in life because he didn’t have “his thing” – he wasn’t skilled at painting, drawing, etc. but eventually he realized that if he could get outside of his own head and stop blocking himself, he’d be able to crochet. He says that he’s gained confidence as a result, first in the craft and then in other areas of life. He tells us more in this artist interview.
You had some false starts with crochet … what was tough about it and what finally allowed you to sit down and tackle it?
I don’t really know what specifically was so difficult about it, but my hands just couldn’t get the hang of it. My brain couldn’t wrap around the concept of even the most basic of stitches, even chaining! Maybe I just didn’t want it enough at the time to get past that threshold? What finally made me break through the glass ceiling was a year and a half of being pretty miserable with myself and unenthused with life. I had just decided to not go back to school the next term and I quit my job, so in a weird way I was feeling pretty scared and inspired all at once!
What has drawn you more towards amigurumi more than other types of crochet? Did you find it easier to do or did the possibilities with it just inspire you more?
At first I only really knew about scarves and hats with crochet, and this also has to do with the first question, but once I learned that you could make Pokemon and other dolls, I was SOLD! It was just the fact that I could bring these beloved characters of mine to life that drew me in more than the fashion side of crochet ever had. I had seen it online but had never seen it done in person so I wanted give it a whirl! Now, I just find it easier to imagine it in my head how to do it and it’s a blast for me!
But you’ve been making some foray into wearables … how has that been going? It seems it’s leaning towards costume – is that accurate?
Crochet wearables have been a struggle to say the least. I don’t know how people do it. It doesn’t make sense to me at all. I’ve tried scarves, beanies, and cowls now – they have all ended up turning out well, and I wear them, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is my best work.
I can see why you would say costume! Sort of. I think it’s more fun incorporating amigurumi into the wearable spectrum, and I’m trying to find a happy medium with that! I have some really fun ideas planned that I think will accomplish this goal!
Your photos are always creative … can you tell us more about that? Do you do the photography yourself? What inspires your photo shoots?
Well thank you! I’m so happy you think they are creative! It means a lot. I do about 95% of my photography! I take the pictures of all my creations and I do the selfies. The pictures you see of me around the city crocheting are taken by my friend / roommate who is a professional photographer (on instagram as @Genzo.raw). However, sometimes he helps me with the messy selfies I take, such as dumping the caramel and eggnog on my head!
My inspiration comes from all over! Sometimes I will make a piece just because I have a caption or pun I want to use. Sometimes I know exactly how I will dress up with the creation! But for the most part, I have no idea what I’m doing. I will look around the house or yard for something that will work, or I’ll go to the dollar store and look around and that works! As long as you have lots of tape, your imagination can go wild!
Crochet is more than a hobby for you. It’s also a business, albeit one that you say you came to organically, without intention. Do you have a structured work schedule or is it just whatever you feel like that day?
I wish I did! I currently work two other jobs as a caregiver for patients with dementia and I am also a Driver’s Ed instructor for high school students. I also have a social life to keep as well and other things that I find important, so sometimes it’s hard to find the time. So to answer your question, I don’t have a structured schedule. Whenever I can, really!
In his podcast interview, Vincent says that his advice to someone interested in starting something new is to keep a day job and realize that success won’t come all at once. However, if you love doing it, there’s no reason not to; the love of it is enough even if you don’t “blow up on the Internet”. He shares that nobody knew he was going to become an amigurumi artist, even himself, but it came out of a love that developed for the craft, and he encourages others to pursue things similarly. Then he says my favorite thing in the podcast, that you’re not here to please others: “Your mini universe inside of you is just so big and overwhelming – that’s what you should be trying to satisfy rather than trying to make other people’s mini universe’s happy”.
Where does the name Knot Bad come from? What does it mean to you to be “knot bad”?
Knot Bad has no real significant backstory to it, sad to say! I would just always say, “It’s not bad” with a twist on the dialect that my friends found amusing. When I was trying to come up with the name for my business, it was my first pick, but I doubted myself and thought “there’s no way I could come up with a name so quickly”, so I brainstormed a new name for about 2 months. However, I just kept coming back to it as an option and decided to take the plunge with it! I love the name, people think it’s silly but endearing, and it fits my love for puns, which you will find out about if you read my posts!
You do have a great sense of humor … but you also have a great heart. Can you tell us a bit more about your charity work and why you find it important to give back?
Yes! I have now hosted two charities. I held my first one this past Holiday season of 2016 with my good friend in the community, Jessica Carey of The Hook Nook. We collected handmade beanies and stuffed dolls from all corners of the world and donated them to the children in the oncology unit at the Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon. It was dedicated to a little girl who was dear to Jessica who was actually facing cancer at the time – but she is now cancer free! It was an absolute success – we were able to collect 1000 handmade items to donate to the hospital, which was the largest donation they have received at once, ever! To top it off, we even had the pleasure of handing out some items to a few children.
My second charity is that I now donate a portion of proceeds towards Planned Parenthood! I know some people may be cautious about involving controversial issues with business, but with the type of economic climate that we are in, I decided that there’s a side of history I want to be on and I am a loud and proud supporter of women’s rights, especially reproductive rights, so I am trying to do my best to help out in anyway I can! READ MORE ABOUT THIS.
In addition to using his skills in crochet to help others, Vincent mentions in the podcsat that crochet has been therapeutic for him as well, offering something to do with his “fidgety hands”.