Entries in commonthreads (9)


Tying the Threads

Vox Culture recently concluded our Common Threads theme with a celebratory event to unite the entire community.  What a success! The Vox team, the Community Cloth, the Houston refugee community, 55 Bar and Restaurant, Langford Market, and many many more joined forces to make it happen.

"The Interwoven Mixer was a memorable celebration of the rich culture and ethnic identities of the refugee women living in our Houston community.  Without words, their faces transferred a depth of kindness and warmth to the guests and their courage and strength were evidently displayed in the beautifully hand crafted goods sold there.  The informational booths of their history displayed along the walls brought a deeper awareness of their humanity and presence in our city and the "traditional meets modern" fashion show was a fun way to represent how we could all find connection with each other through our differences.  There was a lot of passion and enthusiasm backed behind everyone involved with the event, which made this cause truly inspiring to learn about and be a part of."

-Song Kim, volunteer

Empowering the refugee community the way that the Community Cloth does is truly a cause that Vox supports. We are incredibly thankful to have partnered with the amazing folks from the Cloth and to have met the beautiful souls of all the artisans who are a part of the organization.

the Community Cloth, handmade products by the artisans

The event sought to spotlight the rich culture, tradition, and history of the artisans from the Cloth. We wanted our guests to get talking about refugees and what their roles were in Houston. One of our most important features was a visually and emotionally stimulating refugee display, which served as the centerpiece at the mixer.

refugee display, special thanks to Linda Shelton

We had some great entertainment that really set the mood: a fashion show as well as a cultural dance. Our fashion show incorporated traditional outfits from Burmese and Bhutanese cultures and their currently in-style counterparts.

models in their outfits, special thanks to our volunteers, Houston’s refugee community, and Langford Market

The dancers performed classic Burmese pieces that got the crowd pumped—some even joined in!

dancers, special thanks to John Glenn and the Refugee Community Empowerment Association

Finally, we have to give it up for the amazing raffle gifts donated to us by our supporters, including various local businesses in the Houston area. When our volunteers reached out with an opportunity to do good, we recieved warm welcomes and much enthusiam. We were deeply touched by every donation.

raffle prizes, special thanks to BB’s Café, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company, Croissant Brioche, Dada's Candy, Kim Son, Melange Creperie, Najite Boutique, Prodigy Hair Salon, Ruggles Green, Texas Rock Gym, Romano's Macaroni Grill, and Yao’s

We are so thankful for the contributions we were able to make to the Community Cloth as a result of such a successful event! Our hope is that our audience left the mixer excited to have found such diversity within the unity of our community, and are willing to spread that excitement to the places we couldn't reach.


group photo, special thanks to our volunteers


More Photos: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.425166934216414.103653.144918752241235&type=3

The Community Cloth: http://www.thecommunitycloth.org/

Testimony by Roxanne Paiva from the Community Cloth: http://www.voxculture.org/testimonies/

55 Bar and Restaurant: http://www.55houston.com/

Langford Market: http://langfordmarket.com/



Design Workshop Re-Threaded by Sam Mar

On October 20th, Vox Culture hosted a design workshop at the warehouse in support of The Community Cloth, a Houston based non-profit that empowers refugee artisan women to create and sell their own hand-made arts, crafts, and clothing.

The purpose of the event was to highlight the amazing work that Community Cloth is doing to change the lives of refugee women and raise awareness of the needs that exist in our own local community. Vox Culture helped to set up an instructional workshop where volunteers taught a new skill to attendees including artisan refugees in the form of beaded wrap bracelets.  Each attendee at the event purchased a bracelet kit, proceeds of which went towards the sponsorship of an artisan from The Community Cloth.

Attendees at the Vox Culture Design Workshop Event benefiting The Community Cloth

As the room filled with a diverse mix of individuals and families, Community Cloth leaders introduced everyone to their mission and social cause. Houston is home to one of the largest refugee populations in the United States.  One of the most unique aspects of refugees, is that they arrive with the right to work right away. As with many people, it is a challenge to find a job. What they do have are unique skills such as embroidery or weaving that express a rich cultural heritage in each product that is created. The Community Cloth empowers these women by teaching them new skills, helping them with marketing, and providing them with seed grants for raw materials.  After learning about Community Cloth, Vox volunteers went to work with detailed instructions and live demonstrations on how to create the intricate wrap bracelets.

Vox Volunteers teaching the bracelet technique

The bracelets were made out of string and beads, requiring a certain level of patience and dexterity that I was not able to maintain for very long. Looking around, I saw that many of my peers and the artisans had a much higher aptitude for bracelet-making and soon the room fell into a steady rhythm of ins and outs, ups and overs.  As the day came to a close, attendees were invited to view and purchase some of the other products that the Community Cloth artisans had made including scarves, hats, jewelry and clothing. It was nice to see that 100% of proceeds from each sale went to the artisan that created the product.

Hand-made jewelry and woven products from the Community Cloth refugee artisans

The design workshop left everyone who attended with a refreshing new view of The Community Cloth’s mission, as well as a new skill and hopefully (for most) a somewhat functional wrap bracelet.  Thanks to Vox for organizing and designing another successful event to benefit the Houston community and raise awareness for local causes.

As far as I got in my wrap bracelet (this took me 2 hours)


SPECIAL THANKS TO: *Instructor Julie Tien *Sprinkles Cupcakes *Vox Volunteers AND *Our friends from The Community Cloth!


A glimpse of what "Common Threads" means to Vox Culture

We wanted to capture her reality, beyond the words “refugee” or “artisan”, in order to see her for the woman she is.

Interview with Moo Htoo conducted by: Alissa Kit, Viktor Kopic, and Irena Liang.

Many thanks to Roxanne Paiva (co-founder of the Community Cloth) and Mary Say who made it happen. 


Just minutes after stepping foot into the apartment complex in Southwest Houston where Moo Htoo lives, we realized we weren’t just visiting one refugee family, but that an entire community had relocated here where we call home. But did Moo Htoo, her family, and friends have a different perspective on life in Houston? That’s what we wanted to find out.

We entered the apartment where we were greeted by Moo Htoo and a few others: among them, Mary Say, our translator. Almost immediately, Moo Htoo lets Roxanne know what she needs to continue weaving more hand-made products. This is when we got our first taste of the ingenuity that goes into her work, the kinds of tools she uses, and her dedication; which led me to wonder what her motivation was.

Moo Htoo has six children, one of whom is married and has a child. She herself has been married for 27 years. She was raised in Burma, but when the war destroyed all that she knew, she left her home and found herself in a refugee camp. In Thailand, where she spent the next seventeen years, she learned how to weave. It really wasn’t something that appealed to her at first, but since it provided a means to send her children to school, Moo Htoo decided to give it a shot. She had only been a trainee for two months when she found herself weaving faster than the others, eventually even inventing her own floral patterns. As the years passed, one thing was never forgotten: the camp is not home. Imagine raising your children within the confinement of barbed wire, labeled as illegal aliens, and unaccepted by local citizens.  In fact, the term that refugees were called meant “people with no place to be”.

Refugees must apply for resettlement and, if chosen, are then relocated to that country. The United States currently takes in more refugees than the rest of the traditional resettlement countries combined. That’s how Moo Htoo and her family ended up here in Houston, Texas. When asked how she liked it here, she responded lightheartedly, “If you say a place is good, then it is good.” In fact, Moo Htoo actively chooses to search for what she enjoys here. For example, she likes to listen to gospel music. She currently attends a Baptist church that meets in another apartment.

What do you want your children to know?

To always look up to the educated and the wise, so as to never have to go through what I went through.

What is the most important thing to you?

My health. If I can work, then I can survive. If I have money but I am not healthy, it means nothing.

Do you ever feel like giving up?

Sometimes, yes. Because I am human.


Common Threads' Grand Finale 

As our last Common Threads event, Vox culture will be hosting the “Interwoven Mixer” on 11/3 (55 Bar and Restaurant). The mixer will be an interactive experience: a bazaar featuring music, dance, ethnic cuisines, a fashion show, and colorful crafts from the refugees’ represented countries. This multi-layered, multi-faceted event reflects the many stories and journeys of each and every one of these amazing women. The various components we have lined up also serve to enhance our appreciation of our city’s diverse population.

We are aiming to provide a stage where the artisans can promote their handmade arts and crafts, expanding their opportunities of making a living to better integrate their lives into the community. Several refugee communities of the Community Cloth with informal experience in selling their goods will be represented at the event. Show your support not only for their skill-sets, but also for their strength to endure the pressures of starting new.  

Guests will have the opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind products at the bazaar such as woven bags, knitted scarves, embroidered linens, baby clothing, and rugs-- all handcrafted by the artisans.

Come learn more about the cultural heritage behind the creative ware that the refugee artisans design. Join Vox Culture in celebrating the contributions of our refugee community!

ENTRY FEE: There will be an entry fee of $15.00. Guests will receive a sampler platter and signature cocktail. All proceeds will go towards the refugee artisans and their families.

VOLUNTEER: If you would like to volunteer at this event, please sign-up here: http://bit.ly/V5Z7X8

RSVP: For more information, visit our Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/287630348009963/.


It's Party Time: Design Workshop RSVP 10/20

Arm candy...? It's an arm PARTY! For our second event, we will be creating designer-inspired wrap bracelets at Design Workshop. The workshop is a make-and-take jewelry collaborative between the refugee artisans and participants, which will be both interactive and beneficial in teaching the women how to design accessories that can be sold year round.

Date and Time: Saturday October 20
Time: 2:00 - 4:00PM
Location: Vox Culture Warehouse (8570 Katy Fwy. Suite 116  Houston, Texas 77024)

The $25 participation fee includes training for you, sponsorship for an artisan, materials, light refreshments and a take-home customized wrap bracelet!

VOLUNTEER: We are looking for volunteers who would be willing to provide transportation for the artisans from their apartments in Harwin to and from the Vox Culture Warehouse, setup for the event, as well as folks who want to attend and participate! Sign up here.

RESERVE YOUR SEAT: RSVP here to design your own wrap bracelet!

If you have any questions, please contact Linda Fox at linda.fox@voxculture.org