Friendship is essentially a partnership. -Aristotle
This month, we’d like to spotlight one of our community partners that helps spread the work of The Community Cloth. We have been blessed to partner with so many outstanding Houston institutions, like The Downtown Club, The Zonta Club, Brazos Bookstore, Kuhl-Linscomb and Contemporary Handweavers of Houston, but the one that is most meaningful to me is our continuing partnership with the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences.
I spent a large portion of my childhood roaming the halls of HMNS. One of my earliest memories of Houston is of the massive Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that greets you in the main exhibition hall. With its cavernous mouth facing the doors, taunting you, threatening to turn you into a midnight snack, it was an image that burned itself into my nightmares. Being a nerdy child born to nerdy parents, nearly every birthday was celebrated at the HMNS. For my seventeenth birthday, my friends and I dragged ourselves out of bed at five in the morning to be one of the first to pass through the Lord of the Rings exhibition, and did not regret our decision (although we all took naps once we returned home). For me, the HMNS is a must-see for any Houstonian; I take my adult ESL class there every semester, and every one of them falls in love.
Last spring, we had the opportunity to partner with The Downtown Club for their weekly “Jazz and Juice” events. We thrilled at the opportunity, for it provided a chance to spread our name and hopefully meet movers and shakers touched by the stories of The Community Cloth. Stephen Sachnik of The Downtown Club was one such mover and shaker. He also happens to be the CFO at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and a self-proclaimed textile-phile. Gently examining the soft, hand-woven Karenni scarves, he immediately appreciated the craftsmanship and skill used to produce them. At this point, many people had already praised the talents of the artisans, but Stephen was the first person we encountered who had considerable knowledge of weaving and textiles, and his excitement was euphoric. Not only did he suggest new product ideas, like placemats, coasters, and napkins, but he offered to pass a few of the items over to the museum merchandiser, Jennifer King, who immediately ordered some colorful Karenni scarves for the main entrance gift shop.
This was our first step into retail, and The Community Cloth was floored by somehow managing to end up in a major Houston museum. Even better, the gift shop was remodeled a few years ago, and now houses some seriously fabulous pieces. To be sold amongst such stunning and unique pieces was, and is, a tremendous honor. But for me, it’s personal. After spending a lifetime immersed in the HMNS, somehow being a part of it is surreal. Even though many of the artisans have not yet walked through the museum, they are also a part of a Houston landmark.
If you haven’t been to the Houston Museum of Natural Science yet (or it’s been a while), you should check it out at: 5555 Hermann Park Dr. (Be sure to pick up one of our Karenni handwoven scarves!) Follow the museum on Twitter at @hmns.