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Latest News: Special Ikat Making Workshops

Ikat from the island of Roti, near Timor, East Indonesia.

Ikat from the island of Roti, near Timor, East Indonesia.

On Tuesday, 31 May and Wednesday 1 June, the Textile Research Centre, Leiden, in collaboration with the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), is organising two special workshops given by three master ikat dyers and weavers from East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), East Indonesia. Participants will be given an introduction, demonstrations and instructions, and will be encouraged to discuss and try out various techniques. English interpretors will be present.

The workshops will be accompanied by a small display of ikats from eastern Indonesia. The display and workshops are supported by a delegation from East Nusa Tenggara led by Mrs Leburaya, wife of the governor of NTT, that is visiting The Netherlands at the invitation of the IIAS.    

Dates: 31 May and 1 June. Venue: TRC, Hogewoerd 164, Leiden. Time: 10.00 - 13.00 hours. Fees: 25 euros, including materials. The maximum number of participants per workshop is twelve. After the workshops some of the ikats brought by the delegation from Indonesia will be for sale.

Please register as soon as possible at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Successful crowdfunding for purchase of a collection of Hungarian embroidery

The recent crowdfunding campaign has been a great success. The TRC has raised the funds needed for the acquisition of an unique collection of Hungarian embroideries. Many thanks to the many generous donors.  For more information, click here


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


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
  • OWEN-CROCKER, Gale, Elizabeth COATSWORTH and Maria HAYWARD (eds., 2012). Encyclopedia of Dress and Textiles in the British Isles c. 450-1450
  • RALUI, Gioja (interpreted, 2014)Sardinian Knot Stitch
  • WALLER, Diane (2010)Textiles from the Balkans
  • WHITE, Soux (2015)Jane and Ida: Beer Lace Manufacturers to Royalty



Facebook: more than 2300 'friends'

Since mid-2014, the TRC is building up a thriving and colourful Facebook community. With by now (7 May 2016), more than 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 !


TRC Intensive Textile Course in 2016

TRC Intensive Textile Course, September 2015

TRC Intensive Textile Course, September 2015

Please register now for the September or October course

We just finished the March course. We will repeat this course from 19-23 September and 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 spectacular TRC exhibition, which opened on 1 February and can be seen until the end of June, focuses on the use of gold and silver threads, sheet gold and paints, to decorate textiles and garments. On display is 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 dates 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 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

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


The diversity of the TRC collection

Indian batik for a sari

Indian batik for a sari

The TRC collection of textiles, clothing and accessories from around the world was started in 1997 with 43 pieces from Afghanistan, Egypt and Syria. Since then it has grown to almost eleven thousand items (December 2015), which come from very diverse backgrounds with respect to time and place. Some of the items in the collection have been purchased, but the vast majority has been very kindly donated by various institutions and private donors. The collection has no boundaries with respect to geography and time. The collection ranges from Afghan embroidery, German Lederhosen, Indonesian batiks, to delicate silks from Renaissance Italy and spinning and weaving equipment from the Andes. The collection is being built up around four major themes: Pre-Industrial textile technology, including a wide range of spinning and weaving equipment and textiles from around the world; Decorative needlework, with an emphasis on hand embroidery from around the world; Dutch regional dress; North African and Middle Eastern textiles and dress. See also: The TRC Textile and Dress Collection

All of the pieces in the TRC collection have been catalogued, and are currently being incorporated into the new TRC Digital Collection Database. In the spring of 2016 the first group of items will come on-line and after that the digital database will be regularly up-dated with information about the latest acquisitions and information in general. To give an idea of the range and depth of the collection, below we present a broad outline of some of the most important and intriguing elements of the collection. 

Read more: The diversity of the TRC collection



The Textile Research Centre wants to stimulate people to discover the World of Dress at home. The TRC therefore is gradually expanding its shop and its range of products. You can buy new and secondhand books on textiles and dress, including Dutch regional dress, but also on the history of fashion, and 'how-to-do' subjects. The shop has craft items from all over the world, in particular handmade jewellery. There are woven Syrian sheep bands, knitted objects from Peru, embroidered Turkish lavender bags with oya decoration, gaudily decorated caps from Afghanistan, and many other beautiful and interesting objects. We also sell a wide range of picture postcards of textiles and costume.

The shop also sells collection care items, including acid free paper and boxes for storing your delicate textiles and articles of dress, rolls for more compact storage of long textile items, heads and wigs for display purposes, etc. The TRC sells a range of tools, materials and threads for spinning, crochet, embroidery, hairpin lace production, and silk cocoons for making silk paper.

A new line in this assortment is a wide range of beads for making or restoring Dutch regional dress items, including imitation garnets, blood coral and jet, plus all sorts of metal and glass seed beads for embroidery. You can find all these items in the TRC shop for very reasonable prices. You are very welcome to visit the TRC shop at our premises along the Hogewoerd, but you can also visit the shop at home, via our website. It is very easy to order books or other objects digitally.  Click at "Shop". We hope you will enjoy it.

To see the range of articles that are for sale in the TRC shop, and/or place your order digitally, go the the SHOP heading at the top of this page.


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: