Textile Research Centre

Socks&Stockings: A world full of surprises. A new TRC exhibition, from 5th September until mid-December

Woollen Turkmen socks from Iran, 1999, TRC 1999.0130a-b.

Woollen Turkmen socks from Iran, 1999, TRC 1999.0130a-b.

Every morning we put them on, those socks. Often we don't even think about it. But behind the apparently common sock there is a world full of surprises. Did you know that people in Tajikistan knit the most colourful socks of almost one metre long and half a metre wide? And that in the Middle East socks are knitted from the toe upwards, while in Europe we tend to start at the top? And that hand knitting socks has become very popular again?

A major element of the exhibition were the silk stockings found in a mid-seventeenth century wreck discovered off the coast of Texel in the north of The Netherlands. These hand knitted stockings became the focus of a special project led by Chrystel Brandenburg to study the techniques applied to knit these ultra-fine stockings.

The project was sponsored by the Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds. The exhibition will show the story of the project and the hand knitted stockings made by a group of dedicated and skilful knitters.

Read more: Socks&Stockings: A world full of surprises. A new TRC exhibition, from 5th September until mid-December


Hand & Lock, London

The London based firm of Hand & Lock has been producing embroideries for court and military uniforms, and diplomatic and religious garments, since 1767.

From their current premises at 86 Margaret Street, Fitzrovia, London, they are still actively involved in producing and teaching embroidery, especially with gold and silver thread.

TRC has long been collaborating with Hand & Lock, and they recently donated a series of replicas of insignia for chivalric orders, some of which worn by the famous British admiral, Horatio Nelson (see here for more information). The latest issue of their journal, Hand & Lock, contains an article about the TRC (pp. 83-86). A PdF version of the article can be downloaded here.

To purchase this issue of Hand & Lock, please go to the attached web address.


Visiting some museums in Jerusalem

On Tuesday, 30th July 2019, Gillian Vogelsang wrote:

Last Sunday we visited the Holocaust Museum (Yad Vashem), a moving experience because it was so personal. It was about a generation and more of people who vanished. Many of the chronological themes were explained via objects such as photographs, travel documents, letters, a battered watch or a broken toothbrush. Other stories were told via garments, such as a blouse taken from a mound that was recognised as having belonged to a friend and neighbour, a pit full of shoes, yellow Stars of David, and most telling, the blue and white striped garments worn in the camps. This museum really shows how clothing can be used to tell hard stories and pass on messages and emotions.

Read more: Visiting some museums in Jerusalem


Thoughts in Jerusalem

Street scene in the Jerusalem bazaar, 29 July 2019. Photograph Willem Vogelsang.

Street scene in the Jerusalem bazaar, 29 July 2019. Photograph Willem Vogelsang.

On Monday, 29th July, Gillian Vogelsang wrote from Jerusalem:

The last two weeks have been quite a time, both at the TRC Leiden itself and for myself. It has included the Out of Asia programme in Leiden, between 14 and 19 July. A few days later I took part in a symposium at Leicester University about science and archaeological/historical textiles, and now with Willem we have a few days in the old city of Jerusalem (a holiday, of sorts).

A theme of all these events, which became clear to me the last few days, has been the passing down of knowledge and community identity through crafts, rather than solely by the written word (a skill that was long in the hands of a few, elite men).

It has left me a little sad, as it is clear that conflicts, changes in communication (spending time on telephones and watching tv), technology (computer driven machines) and that dreaded word globalization have broken the lineage of generations of craft knowledge, which will never come back.

Read more: Thoughts in Jerusalem


Weekend Workshop: What is lace?, 31 Aug - 1 Sept. 2019

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.

Read more: Weekend Workshop: What is lace?, 31 Aug - 1 Sept. 2019


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Hogewoerd 164, 2311 HW Leiden. Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 / +31 (0)6 28830428   info@trc-leiden.nl

Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 10.00-16.00 hrs, other days by appointment. Holidays: until 11 August

Bank account number: NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59, Stichting Textile Research Centre

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

TRC Gallery exhibition: 12 - 15 August 2019: Out of Asia: 2000 years of textiles

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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 Stichting Textile Research Centre.
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 to the TRC can also be made via Paypal: 

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