a few months ago, i spotted this photo of these incredibly unique creatures on a friend’s facebook page that were imagined and created by her 11-year-old son, roark. i just had to ask her if i could interview her uber-talented son to share his art and story with you all. *all photos supplied by the harris family
roark: Well, you see, a while ago when my Papa was deployed my Mama, my brother and I sewed a sock monkey together using a pair of white socks from my Papa’s sock drawer. Then we made a sock monkey for Papa for his birthday out of his green Marine Corps socks. We named him M&M (For Marine Corps Monkey, and M&M’s were originally made for the troops to be able to eat chocolate without it melting!) He was perfect. Mama even sewed a mini Marine Corps cover (hat) for his head!
I then drew my own pattern for a little navy blue guy I named Hatch. We made him out of left over fabrics my Mama had from like almost 20 years ago when she made a winter coat. I think the navy blue fabric was the lining for the coat. My Mama sewed it for me, and that’s what got me into sewing. She showed me how to hand sew. We made his teeth and claws out of a cool whip container lid.
For my birthday this year I got a sewing machine from my Gramma! I had been asking my Mama to use her sewing machine, but my little doll creations were too hard to sew with a machine because they were too small. But when my Gramma got me a sewing machine, I just changed my idea of shapes for my guys so I could use the machine to sew most of them. My aunt got me a sewing kit with a lot of cool fabrics and different materials, buttons and threads. So I started sewing on my very own machine and I’ve been sewing ever since.
jen: each one of your creations seems to have a personality of it’s own. how do you think of what they’ll look like? what’s your inspiration?
roark: When I make them, I first look around for some type of fabric to use, and then I find some cool buttons that I think will go good with the materials that I’m using. There’s no real prepping before. It really just comes to me.
jen: where do you get the materials you use for your creation, and what are the steps in the process of creating one of these little beings?
roark: I use any sort of material I can find in my house, like an old t-shirts, socks, pillow cases.
jen: what do you think other parents can do to support their kids if they want to get involved in sewing?
roark: I think you should give them positive support. Having lots of materials around the house is good even if they are just old shirts, sheets, curtains, blankets. And letting them try lots of things on their own and with help when they ask or need it is good. I like to do things a lot on my own now, but I used to need more help. And help them sew at first. Showing them how to sew is good. And a lot of good positive support is what I think is really what will help your kids!
jen: what other types of art do you like to create?
roark: Well, I like to draw and paint. I’m also a drummer. I like making short movies. And I also do stop motions which is where you take picture by picture and then you play it at rapid speed so it looks like its moving. I like to build and create LOTS with Legos. I like to build the actual sets made by Lego, but I really like to build my own things with Lego parts. You can check some of them out at my YouTube channel, RoarksProductions. I started my own YouTube Channel because my siblings and I made a few Tonight Shows with Roark Harris, and I wanted my friends and family to see them (and Conan- I am a BIG Conan O’Brien fan). I review Legos on my channel as well. I also make things out of cardboard and tape, paper and string. I like to make things all the time out of anything I can get my hands on. Sometimes I will make things (accessories) for my sewn creations like a sword and shield or a hat or bow and arrow.
jen: is there any thing else you would like to add?
roark:Thank you for having me on your blog!
jen: all i can say is WOW! anytime, roark! i’m inspired to bust out my sewing machine and make a little friend!