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TRC Newsletter Spring 2014

The TRC Newsletter Spring 2014 has just been completed and can be downloaded as a PDF-file. Click here.


Textile Moments: a new textile blog

Textile Moments is a new feature of the TRC’s website. This is a blog where people can send in their recommendations for books, collections, exhibitions, museums, etc. Just about anything that they have seen or used while on their travels that relate to textiles and dress. This week's blog (click here) opens with thoughts about an exhibition on the Silk Road in Amsterdam, a report on a textile conference in Amman (Jordan) and some notes on various collections in Prague (Czech Republic).


If you have any favourite Textile Moments, please send them to us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  


Conference meeting report, Jordan, 25-31 March 2014

The director of the TRC, dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, recently attended a conference in Jordan on "Traditional Textile Craft. An Intangible Cultural Heritage?", organised by the Jordanian Museum and the Centre for Textile Research, Copenhagen. A brief report follows below.

Read more: Conference meeting report, Jordan, 25-31 March 2014



The TRC is building up a thriving and colourful Facebook community. Read brief and up-to-date items about the TRC and other textile and dress related subjects. And all with beautiful photographs!


Five-Day Intensive Textile Courses, 12-16 May and 13-17 October 2014

Between Monday 12 and Friday 16 of May, 2014, the TRC organises, for the ninth time, its very popular five-day intensive course about textiles and all that goes with them. Earlier this year, between 17-21 March, this course was attended by participants from the British Museum, London, and from other institutes. The course, which is being given in English, looks at the processes of making a piece of cloth, from the raw fibres to the end product. The participants will learn about the theory and practice of fibre identification, spinning, dyeing, weaving, and decorative techniques including printing and embroidery. The course is practically orientated and the students are encouraged to try out the wide range of techniques that are being discussed. This means that they will use microscopes and staining techniques for fibre identification. They are introduced, and asked to use, a wide variety of hand spindles and spinning wheels. They also apply natural dye stuffs and mordants to produce dozens of different colours. Students may bring pieces of textiles that they would like to discuss during the course. An extensive report on the course was written by Dr. Paula Hohti (University of Copenhagen), who attended the course in May 2013. Another report is by Alice Dolan, University of Hertfortshire, who attended the course in May 2012 together with Professor John Styles. For more information about the Intensive Course, with the course programme, click here.

This five-day course has in the past already attracted students from around the world. The course is given by Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (PhD Manchester, UK), director TRC. The fees for a full week of tuition are 500 euros (May) and 550 in October. The group of students is always limited to eight people, in order to ensure the greatest benefits to the participants. For the course in May, three places are left available. The course will be repeated from 13-17 October 2014. Please let us know as soon as possible whether you want to join.



TRC exhibition: The Silhouette of Africa. Colours and patterns of textiles and garments from sub-Saharan Africa. Until 15 May 2014

Front panel of a woman's dress from Ghana, with batik image of Africa. TRC collection.

Front panel of a woman's dress from Ghana, with batik image of Africa. TRC collection.

The vast continent of Africa is home to a wide range of cultural and ethnic groups, many of whom have their own styles of traditional textiles and garments. For thousands of years these have been used as an important means to show, not only of the group's identity, but also a person's social and economic status, and his or her role within the group. And above that, the textiles also reflect ideas about colour, patterns and iconography, as well as religion and spirituality.

The aim of this exhibition at the TRC Gallery, which runs until 15 May 2014, is to give a feel for this diversity by focusing on various types of garments and textiles from different parts of sub-Saharan Africa. In doing so, emphasis is placed on types of fibres used for special garments; on some specific dyeing techniques, and on some of the silhouettes created by the garments and outfits worn by both men and women. Overall, many developments in the use of local and imported textiles have taken place in the 20th and early 21st centuries, and these are reflected in the garments. As a result, there have been some dramatic changes in the fibres used, the dyeing techniques, and the silhouette of Africa and Africans. For a photographic impression of the exhibition, click here.

The exhibition is co-produced with Paul Spijker (Toguna Art), a specialist in African
textiles and artifacts.


Three-day TRC course: Basic Middle Eastern and Central Asian embroidery techniques and identification. 20-22 June 2014

Most people have heard of embroidery, especially cross stitch samplers. However, the history of embroidery is much longer and more complex than the cross stitch. For the purpose of this course embroidery is defined as the art of decorating a piece of cloth, whereby a needle and thread are an essential, but not necessarily the only elements used to create a design or pattern. This means that stitching and other techniques, such as appliqué and patchwork, also come under the umbrella term of embroidery.

The course, given in English by Ms dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, director TRC, will look at the general history of embroidery and embroidery techniques with an emphasis on Middle Eastern and Central Asian forms. The TRC’s extensive collection of embroidery will be used to illustrate the various forms discussed. Stereoscopic microscopes will be available for the participants to use for the identification of embroidery techniques during the period of the course. Each day will include practical elements to illustrate the various points discussed.

Participants are encouraged to bring examples of embroidery with them for identification and discussion purposes. Fees for the full three day course are 350 euros. Maximum number of participants is eight, and to date five places have already been reserved.

Read more: Three-day TRC course: Basic Middle Eastern and Central Asian embroidery techniques and identification. 20-22 June 2014


Workshop: Gold thread embroidery from the Middle East and Central Asia, 23 June 2014

Following a previous workshop on 7 March, another workshop on gold thread embroidery is organised on Monday 23rd June, but this time with special attention to embroidery forms from the Middle East and Central Asia. The instructor, Ms Ulrike Mullner, will discuss the various techniques that are and have been used in this vast region, and illustrate her talk with examples from the TRC collection. Participants, who do not need any knowledge or previous practical experience, are encouraged during the workshop to try out the various techniques. The costs for this workshop, which lasts from 09.00-16.00, are 110 euros, including materials. Language of instruction is English. The location is the TRC, Hogewoerd 164, Leiden. Those who are interested to participate are asked to contact the TRC, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Fees should be paid in advance after receipt of confirmation and invoice.


TRC new acquisitions and recommended books, February 2014

The last few months have again seen a large number of books about textiles and dress (in the broadest sense of these words) being accessioned into the TRC library. Some of these accessioned books are listed separately below, with a general description and a recommendation as to whom the book is most suitable for. The TRC now has a team of readers who are preparing entries and every two months this list will be updated. The reviewers for this month include Shelley Anderson, Christopher Ng, and Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood. For the list of December 2013, please click here.

Read more: TRC new acquisitions and recommended books, February 2014


Gifts to the TRC tax deductible up to 125%

For Dutch tax payers, donations to the TRC can by highly advantageous. The TRC is an officially recognised ANBI organisation (Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling), and within that structure the TRC is also recognised as a Culturele Instelling ("Cultural organisation"). Financial gifts are therefore tax deductible, up to 125% for individuals, and 150% for companies. Please click here for more information. Gifts can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59, "Stichting Textile Research Centre"


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

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

Exhibition from 5 February until 15 May 2014: Silhouette of Africa

nnnnnnnnWorkshop on preparing fibres before the spinning process. WWnnn


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 0002 9823 59, 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.

TRC Information





  • What is embroidery? Exhibition October 2013 - January 2014. Click here
  • Cover Your Head exhibition, September 2012, click here
  • Beyond the Chador exhibition, February 2013,  click here