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TRC Christmas Appeal 2014

With the end of 2014 rapidly approaching, the TRC is organising a large-scale Christmas Appeal to help funding the TRC and its many activities. All the work of the TRC is carried out by volunteers, but we still need financial support for practical matters. We are asking all our friends and those who are interested in the work of the TRC to help us in continuing our work.

Donantions can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59, Stichting Textile Research Centre, Leiden, with reference to "TRC Christmas Appeal 2014".

The TRC is a cultural ANBI (Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling), which means that with the introduction of the so-called Geefwet per 1 January 2012, donations made to cultural ANBI's, including the TRC, are tax deductible for Dutch tax payers at a very favourable rate, namely for 125%. Any financial support given to the TRC in 2014 you can simply include in your tax forms as a gift to a 'Cultural' ANBI, and will be automatically rated at 125%. It is very simple! Financial support means that you and other textile enthusiasts can enjoy more and more exhibitions, courses, lectures and workshops at the TRC, as well as use our facilities, such as the collection, library, shop, and not forgetting the all essential tea/coffee and biscuits.


TRC Newsletter December 2014

The TRC Newsletter for December 2014 has just been completed and sent around to all our contacts. It can be downloaded as a PDF-file. Click here.



Appliqué panels from the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo.

TRC Gallery exhibition. 5th January - 30th April 2015

Man working on an appliqué panel, Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, Egypt. Photograph: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, December 2014.

Man working on an appliqué panel, Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, Egypt. Photograph: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, December 2014.

One of the joys of walking around the bazaars of Cairo is a visit to the Street of the Tentmakers. It is a 17th century complex of buildings, with a long street with shops filled with appliqué panels of the most amazing range of colours and designs.

The appliqués from the Street are part of a tradition that goes back to at least the time of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun (died 1323 BC). The new TRC exhibition includes historical and technical information as well as a very wide range of panels with traditional geometric designs, intricate Arabic calligraphy, ancient Egyptian tomb scenes, modern lotus designs, as well as birds, fishes, landscapes and folk stories. In fact, all aspects of traditional Egyptian life.

The exhibition at the TRC has been made possible with the help of the appliqué makers from the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo.




Wednesday morning workshop: Applique and patchwork from Egypt. Wednesday 28 January 2015

As part of the TRC’s Street of the Tentmakers (Cairo) exhibition that opens on the 5th January 2015, the TRC’s Wednesday Workshop on 28 January will be about the history and use of appliqué and patchwork in Egypt. The workshop will look at various techniques, including the appliqué techniques used in ancient Egypt (based on items from the tomb of Tutankhamun, c. 1320 BC), the patchwork techniques used in Medieval Egypt, especially by the Mamluks (c. 1400 AD), and, of course, the appliqué techniques currently used by the men and women of the Street of the Tentmakers.

The workshop will include a PowerPoint presentation about the history of appliqué and patchwork in Egypt, a discussion concerning the various techniques, and of course the chance to experiment with these techniques. There will be three types of appliqué and patchwork to try out: Simple: Mamluk patchwork; Medium: Street of Tentmaker appliqué (large scale); Difficult: Tutankhamun style appliqué (small scale). Time: 10.00 - 13.00. Costs: 25 euros including materials, tea/coffee. Participants: maximum of 15 people. Please register at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


TRC Gallery exhibition: "Renewed from Afar", until 18 December 2014

Fezzes made out of bobbin lace. Lacemaker: Nel Butter.

Fezzes made out of bobbin lace. Lacemaker: Nel Butter.

Until 18 December, the TRC presents the exhibition "Renewed from Afar: Modern bobbin lace inspired by the collection of the Textile Research Centre". The exhibition displays the work of a group of Dutch lacemakers, called EXPERIKANT, which is engaged with the production of modern lace. The old craft is thereby translated for modern times. All the members of the group have followed the traditional schooling of lace production. Now they design their own work and in doing so they make use of many different materials. For this exhibition they were inspired by the large collection of textiles and dress of the TRC. The choice of items is very diverse: a beautiful skirt, a tie on a kimono, a belt, a typical form of headdress or a head covering. These items have been 'translated' into bobbin lace.

This very colourful and three-dimensional exhibition shows the 'original' item from the TRC collection, and the modern bobbin lace 'translation'. With each group of textiles there is a workbook with a description of the production process.

The exhibition of modern lace is accompanied by a display of different traditional laces, which have been grouped together under the heading "What is lace?". The display contains a series of examples, including pieces made of needlelace, net lace, embroidered lace, knotted lace, knitted lace, and last but not least, of crochetting and tatting. The actual examples are all described in text boards, that together tell the long and fascinating history of lace, in all its forms and techniques.


Five-Day TRC Intensive Textile Courses, 16-20 March and 18-22 May 2015

Between 16 and 20 March, 2015, the TRC organises again its acclaimed five-day intensive course on textiles and textile production. 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 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. Please register well in advance ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

The course is given by Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (PhD Manchester, UK), director TRC. It will be repeated between 18-22 May 2015. The fees for a full week of tuition are 550 euros. The group of students is always limited to eight people, in order to ensure the greatest benefits to the participants.





TRC Needles


For thousands of years men and women have made, worn, traded, and admired various forms of decorative needlework, from small daintily embroidered handkerchiefs to giant gold embroidered texts that bedeck the kiswah in Mecca. Decorative needlework was and remains a feature of life throughout the world. The TRC is currently engaged in the setting up and writing of a digital encyclopaedia called TRC Needles that covers this enormous field of human creativity, focussing in particular on appliqué, beading, darned knotting, embroidery, needle lace making, passementerie, patchwork and quilting. The encyclopaedia includes data about different forms from all over the world, from the Americas to Asia. It looks at the earliest surviving examples from ancient Egypt to present-day forms, with an emphasis on handmade examples rather than industrially produced items. It includes references to tools and materials, to iconography, the uses of decorative needlework, to influential people and makers, historical examples, relevant institutions, paintings or similar imagery that depicts decorative needlework. The encyclopaedia also discusses relevant references in various forms of literature, as well as relevant details relating to economic and social history.

Appliqué from the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, Egypt. TRC collection 2013.0442. Photograph Joost Kolkman.

Appliqué from the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, Egypt. TRC collection 2013.0442. Photograph Joost Kolkman.

Read more: TRC Needles


TRC Library

Over the last few months considerable time, energy and attention have been paid to the TRC library by one of our volunteers, Martine de Nijs. We are very happy to announce that the library has been totally re-numbered and is now open to the public.

There are currently about 2000 books in the library and many more new (to us) books are coming in. Within the last few weeks we have had a donation of books by Mr Bernard Kleikamp, Leiden, on textiles, clothing and jewellery from Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Poland, Tajikistan, etc. These are areas of the library we have long wanted to build up, so these volumes will help fill this lacuna in the TRC's facilities.

A list of the books in the library will soon become available on the TRC website. Please note that the books may be used at the TRC, but they cannot be borrowed.

The next stage is to catalogue the TRC's collections of articles, postcards, and so forth, in order to make the TRC into a well-rounded documentation centre for the study of textiles and clothing!



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

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

Exhibition from 6 October until 18 December 2014: Renewed from Afar: A New Look on Lace

nnnnnnnnWorkshop on preparing fibres before the spinning process. WWnnn


TRC Information








  • Weaving the World. Exhibition May - September 2014. Click here.
  • 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 

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.