Creative Entrepreneurs/Master Artisans
Valerie Deas, local textile artist and children’s book illustrator, recently retired after 30 years as an arts educator for the New York City Board of Education. Deas created a quilt commemorating George Washington Carver which was exhibited in Brazil; her quilts and other textiles have been in touring exhibitions throughout the country. SoHarlem currently sells Deas’s quilts and will begin working with her on creating new textile productts. To view Deas’ paintings visit her website: http://valeriedeasart.com.
Donna Drew, Director of Programs and founded Triangle Designs after she retired from an extensive career directing arts and cultural initiatives for county government. A lifelong illustrator and craftswoman, Drew established Triangle Designs in 2010 to formalize her business. Her recent mixed-media work demonstrates the concept of Upcycling by integrating graphics, jewelry and textiles. SoHarlem is working with Drew by identifying potential markets and conducting product test runs in order to sustain the further growth of her business.
Lourdes Garcia founded BotaniCafé© with her sister in 2000 to honor Puerto Rico’s Taíno, African and Spanish elders with a return or ”retorno” to her family’s healing legacy. Her therapeutic products are designed to relieve body aches, ease personal disappointments, and savor life’s triumphs. Garcia’s topical remedies speak to SoHarlem’s commitment to promote natural wellness products. http://botanicafe.com
Sandra Hernandez, SoHarlem’s Director ReCouture and costume designer, began her illustrious career working under Academy Award nominated Costume Designer Ruth Carter on Malcolm X directed by Spike Lee and Amistad, directed by Steven Spielberg. Hernandez has gone on to work as a Costume Designer on several major motion pictures. SoHarlem has teamed up with Sandra to launch our ReCouture program. The program aims to help you recycle, reclaim and restyle your outdated clothes by upstyling your garments and making them fashionable once again.
Betania Medina Rivero started BMR Designs 10 years ago and has been working in crafts since her childhood. She has preserved many of the traditions of her mother who created wedding and cocktail dresses for a living and her late sister who was a macramé artist by incorporating textiles with her gemstones & silver jewelry designs. She prefers to work with turquoise and silver to create her high-end fashion Southwest designs of affordably priced jewelry.
Tatiana Pagés is an Activist Designer who explores the relationship between the environment and our identity, and sees accessories as rituals for cultural expressions. In 2000, she founded ORIGOMU (Japanese for “folding rubber,” and just like origami “folding paper”) to increase environmental awareness through design. Simply put, ORIOMU is a movement that transforms the act of recycling plastic materials into a form of creative expression, where people are encouraged to transform six-pack rings into unique pieces of wearable art. Artwear that inspires both creative thought and a greater sense of stewardship toward our plant. One of her creations is part of the permanent collection at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York at the ECO-FASHION exhibit. http://www.origomu.com
Rosa Perez, SoHarlem’s Director Crafts & Restoration has mastered Ebru, a Turkish paper-marbling technique, which she has studied for over 25 years. She blends the ancient technique with her own modern sensibility to create striking mirrors, tables and designer frames. Perez embodies the patience and extensive knowledge of traditional culture which is characteristic of an Ebru master. SoHarlem is working with Rosa to develop a cadre of individuals who are trained and proficient in using Ebru to create interior designs. http://www.1archpanels.com
Jacqueline Puello-Raboy, Master Seamstress began sewing at the age of 13, In 1985, she joined, Veronica’s Fashionwhen it was located on East 125th Street in Harlem. Veronica’s Fashion created women’s wear for major department stores. During her 10 years with the company, she mastered her craft by working with the most seasoned seamstresses in the business. In 1998, Jackie joined the staff at Public School I.S. 143 in Washington Heights. She specializes in creating decorative items for birthdays, baby showers, weddings and other celebratory occasions.
Doris Koya Prester, SoHarlem’s Director of Tourism Academy and founded New York My Way in 1985. NYMW specialized in walking tours when most tourists were afraid to visit Harlem. SoHarlem is working with Prester on establishing The Harlem Hospitality Center. Based in the Manhattanville Factory District, the Center will provide networking support to Harlem organizations and businesses within the tourism industry. The Center will feature brochures, flyers and coupons for local businesses and serve as a “pit stop” giving tourists the opportunity to purchase refreshments and souvenirs from the gift shop.
Kayte Ringer, body artist and trained dancer, has spent the past 30 years as a Rolfer developing a program that synthesizes the language around body. “Embodying Anatomy/the Body Within: How to Guide Your Perception into Your Body with Imagery & Touch” was developed at SoHarlem as a two-month series. SoHarlem is working with Ringer to develop a marketing strategy to offer her workshop at hospitals and health facilities. SoHarlem is assisting Ringer in completing her 250-page book of illustrations that detail the concepts covered in the series. Sessions of the series can be viewed on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-TCKs0zTvo