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A selection of new acquisitions for the TRC library, April 2016

For the latest list of book reviews of selected new acquisitions for the TRC library, please see here.

  • BASSETT, Lynne Zacek (2016). Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion & its Legacy
  • BLURTON, T. Richard (2016)Krishna in the Garden of Assam: The History and Context of a Much-Travelled Textile
  • FRYE, Susan (2010)Pens and Needles: Women’s Textualities in Early Modern England
  • KÜCHLER, Susanne and Andrea EIMKE (2009)Tivaivai: The Social Fabric of the Cook Islands
  • RALUI, Gioja (interpreted, 2014)Sardinian Knot Stitch
  • WALLERDiane (2010)Textiles from the Balkans
  • WHITE, Soux (2015)Jane and Ida: Beer Lace Manufacturers to Royalty



Facebook: almost 2300 'friends'

Since mid-2014, the TRC is building up a thriving and colourful Facebook community. With by now (20 April 2016), almost 2300 'friends', this medium has become an important tool for disseminating information about the TRC, and about textiles in general. Read brief and up-to-date items about the TRC and other textile and dress related subjects. And all with beautiful photographs! Subscribe with 'like', and automatically receive all the new information. Click on the logo !


Crowdfunding for purchase collection of Hungarian embroidery

The TRC is busy raising sufficient funds to purchase an unique collection of Hungarian embroideries. Support our crowdfunding campaign! For more information, click here


TRC Intensive Textile Course in 2016

TRC Intensive Textile Course, September 2015

TRC Intensive Textile Course, September 2015

Please register now for the October course

We just finished the March course. We will repeat this course from 17-21 October. The course is being taught in English by Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, textile and dress historian and director of the TRC. The course is a mixture of theoretical and practical elements, with an emphasis on trying out the various techniques of textile production (spinning, dyeing, weaving), on holding and examining fibres, textiles and finished items, all in order to learn and understand what is happening and why various combinations take place. The aim is to make textiles less ‘frightening’ and allow people to look at a textile, from virtually any historical period or culture, and be able to understand it.

Read more: TRC Intensive Textile Course in 2016


TRC Gallery exhibition, 2016: Decorated with gold and silver

A modern example of headgear (doppe) from Uzbekistan, decorated with gold coloured metal thread. TRC collection.

A modern example of headgear (doppe) from Uzbekistan, decorated with gold coloured metal thread. TRC collection.

The new and spectacular TRC exhibition, which opens on 1 February, focuses on the use of gold and silver threads, sheet gold and paints, to decorate textiles and garments. On display will be a wide range of textiles, garments and headgear from Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The exhibition includes Egyptian textiles from the 13th century AD as well as some rare velvet and silk European textiles from the 17th and 18th centuries woven with metal threads (gold, gilt and silver forms). The majority of items date from the 20th century and reflect a wide range of uses and decorative techniques.

The exhibition explores the use of gold and silver (actual and artificial) in textiles, and includes several elaborate and early pieces from Indonesia, as well as applied and embroidered textiles and garments, such as 19th century church embroidery, a bridal outfit from India and a festive outfit from Oman. There is even a section about garments made of metal, such as an elaborate Miao woman's headpiece from China and a dancing girdle from Malaysia made of silver coins. There is much more to see and use as a source of inspiration.

For a beautiful film about the exhibition, made by Andrew Thompson, click here.

The exibition runs from 1 February until 30 June 2016. Venue: TRC, Hogewoerd 164, Leiden. Entrance is free, but voluntary donations are welcome

Read more: TRC Gallery exhibition, 2016: Decorated with gold and silver


Another new board member TRC

The TRC is very pleased to announce yet another new member of the board. While Dr. O. E. Kaper, Professor of Egyptology, Leiden University, joint the board last month, we are now very pleased and honoured to tell that Dr. Sara van Dijk has kindly agreed to assist the TRC by becoming a board member. Sara van Dijk is junior curator of textiles at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. 

Per 31 March 2016 the TRC board now includes the following:

  • Chairman: Prof. L. Leertouwer
  • Treasurer: Prof. R.B. ter Haar Romeny
  • Secretary: Dr K. Innemée
  • Director: Dr. G.M. Vogelsang-Eastwood
  • General members: Mrs. V. Drabbe; Dr. S. van Dijk; Prof. O.E. Kaper

New film about TRC exhibition "Decorated with gold and silver"

Andrew Thompson has just made a beautiful film about the new TRC Gallery exhibition: Decorated with Gold and SilverPlease click here to watch it.


Thursday morning workshop, 28 April: Nålbindning

Modern Nålbindning socks

Modern Nålbindning socks

The participants of this workshop are being introduced to Nålbindning, an ancient technique that is used to produce textiles with a thread and a needle. The technique is thousands of years old. The oldest examples are known from the Middle East (mid-seventh millennium BC). Examples are known from Scandinavia that date to the mid-fifth millennium BC. It is still widely practised in Scandinavia, especially in Sweden. During the workshop we look at (pre-) historic and ethnographic examples of Nålbindning, before trying out the technique ourselves, practising the basic stitches and variations. The workshop is given by Dorothee Olthof, one of the founders of PRAE, the Prehistorisch Re-enactment, Archaeologie en Educatie group (info@prae-biz).

Date: 28 april 2016. Venue: Hogewoerd 164, Leiden. Time: 10.00 - 13.00. Costs: 25 euro, incl. coffee/thea and materials. Please register well in advance at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  Maximum number of participants 15. Language: Dutch (English when required).


An exciting donation to the TRC's textile archaeology collection

Grace Crowfoot, 1857-1957. Photograph courtesy of John Crowfoot.

Grace Crowfoot, 1857-1957. Photograph courtesy of John Crowfoot.

For some time, the TRC has been studying a collection of textile tools housed at the TRC in Leiden. This collection is associated with the famous British textile archaeologist, Grace Crowfoot (1877-1957). This morning, Thursday 29th of January, thanks to the kindness of John (a grandson of Grace Crowfoot) and Tanya Crowfoot, the TRC was given more items for the Crowfoot collection. The items arrived in six large boxes, filled with smaller boxes and books. The textiles in the boxes included ancient Egyptian mummy wrappings (one associated with the famous British archaeologist, Sir Flinders Petrie), Coptic fragments, as well as ‘modern’ examples and samples from Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Yugoslavia, etc., which were acquired by Grace Crowfoot in the 1920s. There is, for example, a range of raw cotton from Sudan and silk samples from Aleppo, Syria.

Grace (Molly) Crowfoot was passionate about making replicas, an early form of experimental archaeology, in order to understand how some things were made and in this new addition to the TRC/Crowfoot collection there are numerous examples of trial pieces for Egyptian (Tutankhamun), Viking, and other medieval textiles from various excavations (for instance from the tomb of St Cuthbert in Durham, England). In addition, we have also been given a collection of books about textiles and weaving from the early 1900s, and shortly more reprints of Grace and her daughter Elisabeth’s (another famous British textile archaeologist) works will be coming to Leiden.

Read more: An exciting donation to the TRC's textile archaeology collection


Textile postage stamps

First ever machine embroidered postage stamp, based on St Gallen embroidery. Switzerland 2000.

First ever machine embroidered postage stamp, based on St Gallen embroidery. Switzerland 2000.

Over the next twelve months the TRC is going to have a series of mini-exhibitions dedicated to postage stamps with depictions of textiles and garments in their many diverse forms, or stamps actually made of textile. These exhibitions will include actual examples of the stamps. The aim is to put all of the mini-exhibitions together at the end of 2017 and create a much larger, digital exhibition about the links between textiles and stamps.

The planned mini-exhibitions follow up on a small display in November 2015, which was set up to commemorate the end of the First World War (1914-1918) in November 1918. The display consisted of a series of silk embroidered postcards that were sent by the allied troops in Belgium and France to people at home. It was originally intended to be a one-off exhibition, but it soon became clear that there was also a fascinating world of postage stamps to be explored for their textile and garment contents.

Read more: Textile postage stamps


Cross stitch sewing bee, 18 June

Ferdinand Nigg, Verkuendigung, cross-stitch embroidery

Ferdinand Nigg, Verkuendigung, cross-stitch embroidery

During this Saturday sewing bee, we will explore the amazing world of the apparently so simple cross stitch. Everyone working with embroidery (and many who do not) KNOWS what a cross stitch is, but do they really? There are a number of stitches that are called cross stitches (diagonal, horizontal, square, etc), as well as different ways of working them. This workshop is about exploring and trying out the cross stitch from various cultures and groups (including European and Middle Eastern forms) and coming up with some different ideas about what is a cross stitch. In addition, attention will focus on the Liechtenstein artist and embroiderer, Ferdinand Nigg (1865-1949), who used various forms of cross stitch to explore the nature of graphic art.

Date: Saturday 18 June. Location: TRC, Hogewoerd 164, Leiden. Time: 09:30 - 16:30. Lecturer: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, director TRC. Language: Dutch (English if required). Costs: 55 euros per person, inc. materials, coffee/tea (lunch not provided). Number of participants: minimum 5, maximum 15. Please register well in advance: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Wednesday morning workshop, 29 June: Chilean arpilleras

Chilean arpillera

Chilean arpillera

The June Wednesday morning workshop takes us to Chile. Arpilleras reflect a South American folk art that uses appliqué, embroidery and patchwork to depict scenes of everyday life. The Spanish word arpillera derives from an old Spanish word for burlap. They are sometimes called cuadros (squares). Most arpilleras are used as pictures and hung on walls. The most famous arpilleras and arpilleristas (the women who make them) are from Chile. During the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990), poor women in and around Santiago began making arpilleras as an income-generating project organized by the Roman Catholic Church’s Vicaría de la Solidaridad. Church workers donated clothes, paid for the finished arpilleras and organised their sale. Many of the women were members of an association (Agrupación de los Familiares de los Detenidos Desaparecidos—AFDD) for families of those who were detained by the regime and 'disappeared'.

Read more: Wednesday morning workshop, 29 June: Chilean arpilleras


TRC exhibitions 2009-2015: Information texts to be downloaded

The TRC is putting together a number of booklets that include the (English) text boards of the TRC gallery exhibitions mounted between October 2009 and December 2015. The brochures, beautifully illustrated, can be downloaded free of charge. The booklets discuss the thematic background of each of the exhibitions and the various themes and elements that are being discussed and illustrated, mainly with objects from the TRC collection. The booklets contain a wealth of information for all who are interested.

Read more: TRC exhibitions 2009-2015: Information texts to be downloaded


How to (financially) support the TRC

The TRC is growing rapidly, both in size and in the quality of the collection, the library, the exhibitions, the number of workshops, and much more. All of this means that more financial support is highly desirable. And please bear in mind that all TRC activities are carried out by volunteers! Please transfer your donation to account NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Textile Research Centre, Leiden. Note that the TRC is a Cultural ANBI, which means considerable advantages with respect to your tax returns.

For further details, and various options, we have prepared a simple list with details:

Read more: How to (financially) support the TRC


TRC in a nutshell

Hogewoerd 164, 2311 HW Leiden. Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 / +31 (0)6 28830428

Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 10.00-16.00 hrs, other days by appointment.

Bank account number: NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59

Current exhibition: Decorated with gold and silver

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !


Financial gifts

The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Textile Research Centre, Leiden. Since the TRC is officially recognised as a non-profit making cultural institution (ANBI), donations are tax deductible for 125% for individuals, and 150% for commercial companies. For more information, click here
Financial donations can also be made via Paypal: