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Ikats and ikat weaving from Kalimantan/Borneo, 12-24 August 2017

Craftswoman from Sintang Regency, Kalimantan, Indonesia, working on her loom making ikat cloth.

Craftswoman from Sintang Regency, Kalimantan, Indonesia, working on her loom making ikat cloth.

The Textile Research Centre (TRC Leiden) is very proud to announce a visit by craftswomen from Kalimantan/Borneo, Indonesia, between 12 and 24 August 2017. The artists come from the Sintang Regency (Kabupaten Raya), West Kalimantan. At the TRC they will mount a small exhibition of their local traditional products, and organise a series of workshops on the dyeing of the threads and the weaving of the traditional ikat cloths from their region, and give other workshops on traditional basketry weaving and cotton spinning.

As usual with TRC workshops, the instruction is interactive and participants are encouraged to try out the different techniques themselves. Instruction will be in Dutch, and in English if required. Since the number of participants has to be limited, most workshops are being repeated during the programme.

TRC will be open during the weekends of 12-13 and 19-20 August between 11.00 and 16.00, and as normal from Monday to Thursday between 10.00 and 17.00. 

All workshops will be given at the TRC, Hogewoerd 164, Leiden. Maximum number of participants per workshop is ten. Registration in advance is therefore required. Please email us at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   and indicate which workshops you want to attend. Fees for the workshops amount to 25 euros, to be paid on the day. Visiting the exhibition between 12th and 24th August and the two Wednesday sessions are free of charge.


  • Saturday 12th, 13.00- 16.00: Workshop ikat binding and dyeing
  • Sunday 13th, 13.00 - 16.00: Workshop ikat weaving
  • Tuesday 15th, 12.00 - 15.00: Workshop basketry weaving
  • Wednesday 16th, 14.00 - 16.00: Introducing Indonesian ikats (free) 
  • Thursday 17th, 12.00 - 15.00: Workshop cotton spinning
  • Saturday 19th, 12.00 - 15.00: Workshop ikat binding and dyeing
  • Sunday 20th, 12.00 - 15.00: Workshop ikat weaving
  • Tuesday 22nd, 12.00 - 15.00: Workshop cotton spinning
  • Wednesday 23rd, 12.00 - 15.00: Workshop basketry weaving
  • Thursday 24th, 14.00 - 16.00: Introducing world-wide ikats (free)



Review of selected books for the TRC Library, July 2017

For the latest book reviews of selected new acquisitions for the TRC library, click here. You can also read the reviews per book, just click the title. For the full digital catalogue of the TRC library, click here.


Weekend Workshop: Identifying lace, 4-5 November 2017

Detain of a christening veil made from Brussels net lace, c. 1820. TRC 2014.0831.

Detain of a christening veil made from Brussels net lace, c. 1820. TRC 2014.0831.

Lace is one of the finest fabrics that human hands can produce. It has been made, in its many forms, for centuries and reflects changes in life style, fashion and technology. But there are many questions around the concept of lace, including what actually is lace? How is it made? And how can you identify the various forms? These are the main questions (and there are many more) that will be answered during the two-day course.

The aim of the course is for the participants to understand the basics of the main techniques, and to look at and study the various tools and materials used during the process of lace making.

The first day is dedicated to identify the main types of lace – bobbin, knotted and looped techniques, as well as embroidered and appliqué forms. This section will include some practical work. The second day is dedicated to the identification of lace samples and personally making some (simple) examples of bobbin lace.

Participants will take part in the examination of various typical and more unusual samples of lace from the TRC Collection under the supervision of Olga Ieromina, a bobbin lace maker and curator in charge of the TRC’s lace collection. If you have any pieces of lace you would like help in identifying, then you are welcome to bring them.

Date: 4 and 5 November 2017. Time: 10.00 – 16.00. Location: TRC Leiden, Hogewoerd 164, 2351 HW Leiden, The Netherlands. Lecturer: Olga Ieromina. Language: English. Advance registration required ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). Fees: 125 euro (with half to be paid in advance upon receipt of invoice). Number of participants: between 6 and 12.


Two thousand new books for the TRC library

The TRC has received a donation of some two thousand books for the ever-growing TRC library. Read more about this amazing gift, which will be added to the existing collection of almost 3000 publications on textiles and textile studies already catalogued.

Read more: Two thousand new books for the TRC library


Facebook: now more than 3600 'friends'

Since mid-2014, the TRC is building up a thriving and colourful Facebook community. By the beginning of July 2017 we reached the amazing number of 3600 'friends'. In this way, this medium has become an even more 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, 16-20 October 2017

TRC Intensive Textile Course, 12-16 April 2017

TRC Intensive Textile Course, 12-16 April 2017

TRC has been organising an intensive textile course for many years. The next intensive week-long textile course will take place from 16-20 October 2017. The course is being 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.

The course will again be given in 2018, from 12-16 March and from 23-27 April. 

Read more: TRC Intensive Textile Course, 16-20 October 2017


From September: Dressing the "Stans". Textiles, dress and jewellery from Central Asia

Hunting cloth, used in Nuristan to disguise the hunter. Afghanistan, mid-20th century. TRC 2016.1773

Hunting cloth, used in Nuristan to disguise the hunter. Afghanistan, mid-20th century. TRC 2016.1773

As part of the 2017 Asia Year celebrations in Leiden, the Textile Research Centre is presenting a fascinating and colourful exhibition about textiles, dress and jewellery from Central Asia: the so-called ‘Stans’ (‘Land of…’), namely Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The exhibition will include traditional textiles, garments and accessories for men, women and children, from all parts of this vast and relatively unknown part of the world. On display there will be many items including ikats, velvets and embroideries from the ‘Stans’ in general. But there will also be more specific items, such as Afghan chapans (the type of coat made famous by ex-President Hamid Karzai, and which he wore during his visit to Leiden in 2008), buzkashi apparel (used in the "goat-grabbing" game of Central Asia) , as well as hunting hoods and cloths, used to 'hide' the hunter. From Uzbekistan there will be examples of the famous suzani embroideries and ikat dresses and coats, while the Turkmen will be represented by a range of traditional and silver jewellery and garments for women.

The exhibition will be open to the general public from 11th September until 22nd December 2017.



Hand & Lock, London

The London-based embroidery firm of Hand & Lock, famous for their ceremonial, ecclesiastical and military embroideries was founded in 1767, and is this year therefore celebrating its 250th anniversary. To mark the occasion, they are organising three major conferences on the theme of 'Heritage, the Now and the Future of Embroidery'. The first meeting will take place in Sydney on 6 April; the second in Chicago, on 8 June, and the third and last in London, on 13 July (Bishopsgate Institute). The conferences will coincide with a three-day workshop on tambour embroidery, and the mounting of a special exhibition.

The TRC has for some time been building up a strong and very cordial relationship with Hand & Lock, and their representatives have visited the TRC in Leiden last year, and early January of this year, we paid a return visit. For the 13 July conference of Hand & Lock in London, Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, director of the TRC, has been invited to give a special guest lecture and to sit on a panel together with other embroidery experts. For more information, please consult the Hand & Lock website.


TRC Encyclopedia wins prestigious international prize

The TRC Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World by Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (London: Bloomsbury, 2016) has been awarded the 2017 Dartmouth Medal. This is THE most prestigious reference book award in the world. It is granted by the American Library Association every year to just one book.

The press packet of the ALA states: The “Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World” is a unique and exceptional reference work.  It is both an anthropological and historical source discussing the relationships of identity and adornment and a tool for learning about the craft of embroidery.  It is aesthetically and organizationally pleasing with beautiful full-color illustrations, useful appendices and an index and chapter organization that allow access to topics by country, religious group, cultural event, or ceremonial use.  The presentation of this print volume lends itself to browsing, brief consultation and deep reading.  The “Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World” is an entry point to the topic for varied educational levels with interest in adornment, craft, history and culture.   

For further details about the award please click here.  A big thanks to everyone who helped with the production of this wonderful book!!

Copies of the book are available via Bloomsbury.


How to 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 support the TRC


Online catalogue of the TRC collection

Detail of knitting sampler dated AD 1791. TRC 2016.2261

Detail of knitting sampler dated AD 1791. TRC 2016.2261

Work on the online catalogue of the TRC collection is getting well on the way. Perhaps you should have a look. Click here. For instance, one of the latest acquisitions to the collection is a knitting sampler that is dated AD 1791. The TRC recently obtained it together with a collection of embroideries from Hungary. This knitting sampler may be one of the oldest, and securely dated knitting samplers ever found in Europe. You can see the sampler in our online catalogue, click here.





Embroidery charts

We recently put some embroidery charts online for some unusual and intriguing needlework patterns from the eastern and northern parts of Europe. Int the next few months, we hope to publish more. Please click here for an Hungarian cushion covertwo cross-stitch patterns for ecclesiastical garmentsan Hungarian/Romanian geometric design, a deer design from Eastern Europe, a simple blouse design from Romania, and a rabbits and birds design originally for a beadwork panel, also from Hungary. You can use them as you wish. Enjoy !


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 over fourteen thousand items (December 2016), 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.

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 has come on-line and after that the digital database is regularly up-dated with information about the latest acquisitions and information in general. By December 2016, more than half of the collection has been photographed. 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.


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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

Gallery exhibition, 3 April - 29 June: From Kaftan to Kippa

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

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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: