It Ain’t Over – Came In Today – AMAZING

It Ain’t Over – the inspirational book created by Marlo Thomas and 60 amazing women!

Sue Rock Originals story begins Chapter 5: “Relentless”

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Book goes LIVE on April 8, order here:

 

Sue Rock Originals – The Story to Inspire a Generation – presented by Ms. Marlo Thomas!

How do you get the nerve to start again! No one knows better than the women profiled in this powerful book by actress, activist, and bestselling author Marlo Thomas.

And the Sue Rock Originals story was chosen to be one of them!

This is one extraordinary event and I am through the moon about it!

If you are of a certain age you may know about Marlo Thomas from her Mondays with Marlo series in the Huffington Post. But to a huge number of women (and men) she is so much more….

Growing up in New York City in the 1970′s, I was inspired by so many things.  The beginning of integration, the development of the UN, Sesame Street! And tied into that were the multitude of programs which expressed the ever changing times.  Shows like Room 222, Family Affair, Julia and most famously THAT GIRL.

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Produced by the daughter of the amazing entertainer and family man Danny Thomas, Marlo Thomas set the stage for whole new type of girl.  Set in my hometown, this girl was charting her own course with her own mind, her own goals and a great sense of style.  (AND she was an actress!)  I loved the show! 

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As time went on, Ms. Thomas was moved by her fans response to her character to create a powerful network of women. She spoke at women’s events, encourged organizing on many level and created the powerful production “Free to be You and ME!” which just celebrated its 40th Anniversary.

 

ImageIt Ain’t Over . . . Till It’s Over introduces us to sixty amazing women who are proving that it’s never too late to live out a dream.  An amazing book (which contributes ALL of the royalties to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital!) chronicles the stories of these women to inspire and encourage people of all ages!

For pre-orders –
http://www.amazon.com/Aint-Over-Till-Life-Dreams-Anytime/dp/1476739919

 

Sue Rock Originals Everyone supports the Chapters of Days for Girls

Well summer 2013, was an intense summer of activity and transformation.  We relocated our 1200 square foot studio and developed a wider reach of women and girls.

As part of our outreach, we chose to extend out donations to a beautiful organization:  DAYS FOR GIRLS!

What is Days for Girls?

Every girl in the world deserves education, safety, and dignity. Together with our network of thousands of exceptional volunteers and partners,we have reached over 60,000 girls and women in 59 nations on 6 continents and counting. It’s working. ​Days for Girls empowers Days of education. Days of health. Days of safety. Days of dignity. We do this by direct distribution of sustainable feminine hygiene kits with many nonprofits, by raising awareness, by helping other organizations start their own programs and importantly, by helping impoverished communities start their own programs to supply kits and training.

Starting in September TEN CHAPTERS  (2 Chapters in California, New Orleans, 3 Chapters in Canada, Utah, Puerto Rico, New Zealand and Australia) we be receiving seasonal donations of panties for use in the creation of Days for Girls packages!

Check out their organization here – its GREAT!

http://www.daysforgirls.org/#!home/mainPage

Sue Rock Originals donates to Sewists helping Oklahoma Tornado victims!

Happy Summer!

Just a quick note to let you know of this GREAT Post this morning on TV host Nancy Zieman’s blog letting sewers know about latest outreach efforts – we will be donating from our fabrics to help survivors of the Oklahoma Tornado disaster!
Check it out here :)

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Sue Rock Originals Everyone, Inc. is willing to donate assorted fabrics to any person or sewing group that is working on projects in their area to support survivors of the Oklahoma tornadoes. All she requests is that the recipient pay for shipping costs.

Interested sewists should contact Sue and her organization at suerockoriginals@yahoo.com. Upon receiving your email, they will send you a response form. The response form requests the following information:

  • The organization/person receiving the fabric
  • The address for delivery
  • The use of the fabric (“Girls Scout Troup 307 of River City is creating pillowcases for families affected by the Oklahoma tornadoes”)

The form gives sewists information about how to pay for shipment of the fabric to their location.

Lastly, Sue requests that in appreciation for the donation and in lieu of payment, that the organization or sewist please share information about this donation in a specific way (newsletter, community meeting, blog, twitter, facebook etc.).  This “word of mouth” outreach helps Sue Rock Originals Everyone, Inc. more than ever! 

- See more at: http://www.nancyzieman.com/blog/nancys-corner/sew-quilts-for-charity-sew-quilts-for-oklahoma-tornado-victims/#sthash.XHL1wElQ.dpuf

 

Sue Rock Originals Everyone, Inc. is willing to donate assorted fabrics to any person or sewing group that is working on projects in their area to support survivors of the Oklahoma tornadoes. All she requests is that the recipient pay for shipping costs.

Interested sewists should contact Sue and her organization at suerockoriginals@yahoo.com. Upon receiving your email, they will send you a response form. The response form requests the following information:

  • The organization/person receiving the fabric
  • The address for delivery
  • The use of the fabric (“Girls Scout Troup 307 of River City is creating pillowcases for families affected by the Oklahoma tornadoes”)

The form gives sewists information about how to pay for shipment of the fabric to their location.

Lastly, Sue requests that in appreciation for the donation and in lieu of payment, that the organization or sewist please share information about this donation in a specific way (newsletter, community meeting, blog, twitter, facebook etc.).  This “word of mouth” outreach helps Sue Rock Originals Everyone, Inc. more than ever! 

- See more at: http://www.nancyzieman.com/blog/nancys-corner/sew-quilts-for-charity-sew-quilts-for-oklahoma-tornado-victims/#sthash.XHL1wElQ.dpuf

 

 

Sue Rock Originals donates the CASA ANA Sewing Program in the Dominican Republic!

When the power of life comes together there are no words….

Sue Rock Originals Everyone has just provided the fabric, sewing machines, notions and garments for the CASA ANA Sewing Project in the Dominican Republic – the genius of Kim Possible and the team at Women Worldwide are making this happen!

Sewing Futures in Azua, DR is a social change project of The Women Worldwide Initiative in partnership with Fundacion Casa Ana that will run in its pilot phase to provide sewing training to increase the skills and income potential of undereducated female caretakers.

Empowering these women with tools, such as technical skills training, will enable them to be better situated to generate income for their households and consequently eliminate the need for them to pull their children out of school.

DSC04278   Jerome Rock is here wheeling out the bags of lingerie and fabrics which will travel from our humble Crown Heights studio to the women in need in the Domincan Republic!DSC04275Here I am with the director of the CASA ANA Project.  She is accepting the fabrics donated from Phillips Van Heusen.  Women will use these fabrics to learn how to sew and uplift their lives!!

College Students reap rich rewards from Sewing Classes at Sue Rock Originals

When we expand our reach into our communities, its to help all people understand the value and rich tradition of needlarts.  They are beautiful – they are life affirming – and so very life sustaining.

Therefore it was easy to respond to Duke University student Safiya Driskell.  So young and so smart – Safiya was accepted to study abroad with her classmates in Egypt.   With two weeks to leave, she had to find the appropriate clothing for a society that is so culturally different from the United States.  And to find it for a girl that’s 5′ 11″!

Sue Rock Originals to the rescue!

In less than three days, Safiya

  • Picked out fabrics
  • learned how to measure
  • created a pattern
  • learned to sew on a straight stitch and regular machine
  • MADE HER SKIRTS

As she told us :  “This is my FAVORITE Skirt Ever!!”

Great work Safiya  (Images from Egypt to come!)

Spring Cleaning brings New Friends – Meet Haiti Corps International

At our studios we periodically have to weed through our donations.  Try as we might, we simply can’t keep every 1 yard piece of fabric!  So we are currently offering free fabric to those in need of supplies for their projects.

For the past three weeks we have been graced with so many wonderful people.  But when you meet someone like Director Brent E. Gibson – you have to take pause.  He is the Director of Haiti Corps International, an organization who has been on the ground since the Haitian Earthquake, providing supplies and the economic means for women and orphans to create a new life!

Dr. Gibson has agreed to bring some of our remaining skirts from our Sewing for Haiti drive to Haiti in his upcoming trip there in May – THANK YOU DR. GIBSON – from the bottom of our hearts

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And if you had not seen, this the amazing vid of our work in 2010 after the Haitian Earthquake – where over 450 volunteers came into our studios throughout the day to sew these wonderful wrap skirts for women in need!

Healing Through Textile Art

We will be sharing our blog on a regular basis with people who have been strengthened, nurtured, encouraged and brought to a new level through the textile arts.  I hope you will be uplifted by their stories.

I introduce you to – Ms. Deborah Jackson
Her Blog “Jenny Sparrow” covers her journey as a soft sculptor, doll maker and brilliant assemblage artist!
On Facebook – Jenny Sparrow

ImageImageI’ve always wanted to be an artist. For me it was instinctual and as natural as breathing, but it never came easy. As a kid I was already very hard of hearing. It made me an outsider because it took a log time before my parents and teachers were aware that I had a serious hearing problem. My grades were poor and I couldn’t interact the way other children did. So I watched- I experienced everything visually, and not as a whole sensory experience. Hearing people don’t realize how much the loss of hearing can affect every aspect of your life. So I felt I didn’t have a voice- but art is the process of finding your voice. And the times when I lost my art, I lost my voice. I’ve been through a lot- but the worst time of my life was in 1990- I had an ectopic pregnancy and was told I couldn’t have children. My mother had died less than a year before and I was still coping with the aftermath. A few months after the surgery (with complications), my husband said he wanted a divorce. He told his friends since I couldn’t have kids, he wanted someone who could. My life crashed for about 8-9 years. I lost everything and then got hit with another emergency major surgery. It was a struggle to get up on the morning, it was a struggle to eat, to work, to breathe.

I had stopped working on anything artistic, and then, one day my sister told me she wanted to go into business with me and we would do the hi-end art and craft shows. And it started me thinking. Art is a painful, exhilarating process. It’s very intense- and I wasn’t sure if I could handle creating new work, if I was strong enough. But you take baby steps. And the first step was learning to play. To relearn how to take joy in doing a drawing, sewing a fine stitch, sculpting a face. And then you watch your hands start to reconnect to your heart and your brain. And suddenly a flood of idea when you realize that you can do this. That’s when the exhilaration starts. And the joy. Art makes you see, art lets you speak.

Those feelings, and the joy of making something, having your head flooded with possibilities – those things pulled me out of myself and made me realize several things. My life was mine to create. I could find joy in little things, as well as big. The process of growing through my work helped me find my voice and when I found my voice, I found me.

New Clothes = New Perspective = NEW ATTITUDE!

There has never been more joy in our studio than last year when teaching women who were survivors of domestic violence how to sew their own clothing.  Our weekly classes in garment construction were key to improving the self worth of over 50 immigrant women. 

The importance of creating an empowering new start for women who have suffered abuse is vital in personal healing.  Although there is much generosity in our communities and abundance resounds with clothing and accessory donations – the value of new articles of clothing and home decor is essential.

Not All Used Clothes are Vintage……

Since the mid-2000′s  there has been a clarion call of “Recycle – Reuse”.  Bins throughout communities are filled to overflow with clothing and accessories as each Farmer’s Market has a textile re-use section for collecting old clothes. 

In our work with domestic violence residences we have be the recipients of used clothes for donation to the needy.  We have also seen the bags and boxes of clothing which lays unsorted and in piles at various organizations throughout the city.

But are all used clothes usable.  When we began to receive clothing it became clear that many people simply brought their laundry bags out for donation.  Family members wanting to help, emptied out old dressers and suitcases from attics and basements.  Sour and mildewed clothing or fabric with dry rot is the unfortunate result of these donations…..but it seems this is nothing new….

 “The Freedmen’s Journal, (established in 1862 to aid the destitute freedmen and women of Port Royal, South Carolina) reported on the boxes, barrels, parcels, and bundles of new and used clothing and blankets received from branches at the Boston Headquarters for distribution.     However, according to diarist Susan Walker, who was working for the Freedmen’s Society in Port Royal, South Carolina, such charity was not always from the heart. She wrote

Yesterday I was all day assorting old clothes sent from New York for the negroes. Such old shoes and men’s clothing filled with dust and dirt! Women’s soiled gowns, etc. and rags I would not give to a street beggar, have been sent at Government expense, to be handled and assorted by ladies! Some new but more old. Could not the large charity of New York furnish new materials?”

Even in the 1800′s the need to restore the vitality for people in need with NEW items and NEW articles of clothing was key.  The population that Ms. Walker was speaking of was a skilled transplated African population of seamstresses, tailors, weavers and garment workers who made good use of raw materials when forced to create clothing and merchandise for resale.

Our training program encourages women to take a new lease on life.  Even if they bring items from the residences that has been donated, we teach how to improve articles of clothing by adding trim, altering the cut or changing the buttons.  The donations of beautiful fabrics and availability of all materials needed afford women of the opportunity to create pieces they may have NEVER owned!

A rewarding life can be afforded to one who had a bit of creativity and the right materials   – Sue Rock Originals enjoys making this possible for all to enjoy!

Healing Through Textile Art

We will be sharing our blog on a regular basis with people who have been strengthened, nurtured, encouraged and brought to a new level through the textile arts.  I hope you will be uplifted by their stories.

I introduce you to – Ms. Whitney P. Lopez……
Her Blog “Almost an Ethnographer” covers her journey into Anthropology as a graduate student at Bryn Mawr collage.

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Until 5 years ago, strangers would look at me and ask, “Are you an artist?” and to this my answer would always be, “No, but both of my parents are trained visual artists.” If they had asked if I was a performer, I would’ve gladly told them that I’d been acting since 2, singing since 4, playing flute since 9, and taking dance lessons since 10, but when most people ask if you’re an artist, they aren’t asking if you’re an actor, a vocalist, a singer, or a dancer. To my knowledge, I could not draw, paint, sculpt, or even collage well. I was the only performer in my immediate family and the only one who wasn’t an “artist.” No one had ever said to me that art was art ad I didn’t know that performers were artists also. For me, those worlds had never collided, especially not within.

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At this point, I also had no idea that textile or fiber art existed. My mother had taught me and my sister to crochet, knit, and sew by hand, and my father had taught me how to embroider, yet no one said it was art and so, to me, it was a skill of utility. With all of these technical skills, it was painting, collaging, and sculpting that I coveted. I wanted to be able to sketch with a pencil with the accuracy of my parents. I wanted to understand shades and tints. I took an art class once in high school and did horribly. I was convinced that I was not an artist, so I stuck to stage.

Six years ago, when I was three years removed from high school and my parent’s house, I spent my unemployed time creating things. Hats, scarves, sweaters, blankets, skirts: I cranked them out in no time. All of them crocheted. I spent so much time with yarns and patterns that I grew a deep intimate knowledge of the craft. I began creating things off of the top of my head and writing down my own patterns in needlecraft lingo. Without actual employment, I found myself cleaning houses or watching children or the elderly just to get enough to buy food. If there was any money left over, I was spending it on yarn. To save money, I wouldn’t always pay for transportation and found myself walking over 4 miles, one way, to scrub someone’s floor or cook meals for an elder. I could not continue to live like this; it was tiring, often degrading, and I wanted a college education.150100_336246396471291_1750448345_n
I began looking for schools with fashion programs or textiles because I enjoyed making clothing and I was hoping to improve my sewing by machine. My mother owns about ten sewing machines, from untouchable, still working antiques to factory grade powerhouses, and never let anyone else use them. My sister and I were experts at sewing by hand, even to the point of creating entire outfits overnight with our ten nimble digits. I loved fashion, not wearing other people’s ideas, but establishing my own. My search for college programs brought me to the Textile Design and even Textile Engineering programs at Philadelphia University. I decided I would save up my pennies to apply to textile engineering with a minor in textile design, then I received a call from a friend about an administrative assistant opening at her job. I sent in my thin resumé and landed an interview.

When asked by my interviewers what I had been doing since leaving high school, I told them that I had been making clothing and household items with the hopes of applying to a textile engineering program. A few days later, I had the job. When I asked what set me apart from the other candidates, I was told that it was obvious drive and my interest in engineering. They said that they hoped I would use the company’s tuition reimbursement to go back to school and earn my bachelor’s, especially in a branch of engineering.545070_300161113413153_506676590_n

The story doesn’t end there, although it probably should. I was the assistant to the Diversity department, which had formerly been the Affirmative Action department. I began to see social injustice and discrimination in a new light, and I began to speak out against it. My academic interests shifted to something where I could actively effect change and away from engineering. One lunch break, as I wandered away from the stress of my job, I discovered the nearby Fabric Workshop and Museum. It was then and only then, that I realized textile arts could be used as a means of speaking out against injustice. I was sold! I spent small portions of my paycheck on fibers, yarns, fabrics, and other art supplies and started experimenting.

Not only did I realize that if I worked at it, I could now (and probably always could) draw, paint, and sculpt, in addition to make my fiber arts count as activism. Since 2008, I’ve been creating clothing, visual art, and clothing as art with social change in mind. I have not exhibited my artwork yet, but I’m hoping that will change in 2013.

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