Joanna Stott, along with Dawne Hoeg are Co-directors of Stitch Buffalo. Stitch Buffalo’s mission is to provide economic empowerment to refugee women through the textile arts. They are a local nonprofit organization and the money that the women earn is circulated back into the local economy. Stitch Buffalo’s goal is to build bridges in the community, joining together established and new residents to learn about global textile arts and understanding we all have a place in the new Buffalo.
They are also an organization run by women for women.
What is Stitch Buffalo?
Stitch Buffalo was founded in 2014 and began with the simple desire to gather and create. Initially starting with a single refugee woman, it has now grown into a thriving community of over 55 women from Bhutan, Burma, Nepal and Angola. Each week these women come together in a room at the Concerned Ecumenical Ministries (CEM) building on Lafayette Ave. to form a Refugee Women’s Workshop, sewing handcrafted goods for sale within the community.
The overwhelmingly positive response from the Buffalo community has inspired a vision of growth for Stitch Buffalo to include a permanent retail location and workroom space. The vision for this venue includes a resale store for donated textile goods which are sold to financially support the Refugee Women’s Workshop. The organization has just submitted the paperwork to become a registered non-profit organization and we hope this new incarnation of Stitch Buffalo will allow the growth and development we’ve been working towards.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Our biggest inspiration is the women of The Refugee Women’s Workshop. Their creativity, their mastery of the textile arts, their care for the community and their ambition for a better life, all serve as a driving force for Dawne and I. Both Dawne and I have relocated to Buffalo from further afield but what compels us about this city is its capacity for growth and the warmth of its community. The reception for Stitch Buffalo in the community has been phenomenal. There has been an outpouring of support from so many different people and organizations. We feel lucky to find ourselves in this city at this moment in time!
Favorite Buffalo stuff.
My two favorite restaurants at the moment are Roost on Niagara St. and Toutant on Ellicott St. I love the energy that these beautiful spaces brings to the area and the food is amazing. You can’t beat Breadhive for bagels and the green tea latte at Sweetness 7 is the best! A great spot for a quiet night out is North Park Theater, the old world charm doesn’t get any sweeter. Favorite shops include, Ro, Fern and Arrow and the quintessential Buffalo landmark, Talking Leaves.
What’s happening? Any upcoming events?
We’re having our first ever fundraiser on April 1st at Resurgence Brewery, 1250 Niagara St., from 1-4pm. There will be traditional Burmese and Bhutanese food, you can meet the women of the Refugee Women’s Workshop and see all the beautiful goods they create. We’ll also have a big marketplace with bags, tunics, cuff bracelets, home goods and of course, everyone’s favorite, our Buffalove heart pins. it’s free to everyone so please come by and say hi!