Lowcountry Originals 2022 - Thomasina Rogers


July 2022 Issue
Photography by Cassidy Dunn Photography

Thomasina Rogers Saundra ReneeSmith0722

Current Residence:

Hometown: Beaufort

Career: Retail (currently restaurant host)

Art: Ouchee Therapy Toys

Family: Married to Craig Rogers

How did you discover your talent?
I discovered my talent when Covid started. I have epilepsy and already suffer with stress and anxiety, but it became overwhelming to look at the news. I started taking on the problems and complete disfunction of what was happening in the world. The many deaths over and over, doctors and patients dying, it was a lot for me. I lived my life in a box that year. I didn’t hug my family; I didn’t participate in any functions, which hurt the most. I created my own prison. Thank God the people who love me were understanding and compassionate and encouraged the need for me to get some help. 

The idea for my therapy sock bears came to me in a dream. In all my restless sleep, I was designing in my mind until it became a reality. I know with all my heart these bears are supposed to be used for healing. Each one is special to me and gives me great joy. 

What makes you a Lowcountry Original?
I have lived in the Lowcountry all my life, and I have started something that I have never seen done before. Plus, behind it all is a great purpose to help people who suffer like me with anxiety. I just never thought I would do anything like this.

What do you hope people “get” out of your art?
Each therapy bear is different because they are made out of socks. Each one is original and unique. That’s what makes them special and different. My hope is that both children and adults will receive as many smiles, and as much security and comfort as I do when making them. My goal is to get the bears in every mental heath hospital, pediatrician office and health facility to help beat anxiety.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve ever received
since starting Ouchee Therapy Toys? 

Due to my epilepsy, I would always shy away due to prior trauma. God has put some special people around me to keep me encouraged. My proudest moment is that I started this during hard times and remained consistent no matter the push backs. The fact I started this and will not stop, is amazing to me.   

People always think creative people are messy and chaotic. What works for you?
I am very neat and organized. If things are chaotic I can’t sew—my surroundings have to be a certain way in order for me to create.

What do you love most about your creativity? 
It’s not planned. It’s all just a feeling. It just comes to me. I don’t sketch it in a book or plan how I want each one to look. It happens. I dream about it. I think about it. It just comes to me. Thats why I believe these bears are meant to be. Every bear comforts me. I could not sleep; I think God used these bears to comfort me when I couldn’t sleep.

Do you think you’re weird? If so, what do you love about your weirdness?
I don’t think I’m weird; I just think I’m different. I love that about me because my disability is not a handicap! I never think, “why me?”

What’s something unique in your house that more than likely no one else has?
Piles and piles of socks, thousands of socks—all colors, sizes, prints—socks are everywhere! People send me socks from everywhere.

Describe what success looks like for you.
The fact that when everyone (including me) thought I couldn’t do, I did it and am doing it! I’m not scared anymore. I never expected to give speeches about it; I have a speech impediment! My Ouchee Therapy Toys have been accepted and welcomed into the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce. I now sell the bears at the Charleston City Market. I’m on a mission to get these bears into the hands of people who can be helped by these bears, and I’m no longer letting doubt stop me. My epilepsy is not my thorn, it is my weapon!