TRC Blog: Textile Moments

Buttons galore

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Three pairs of buttons, The Netherlands, 1930s (TRC 2018.1497a-f).

Three pairs of buttons, The Netherlands, 1930s (TRC 2018.1497a-f).

As noted in an earlier blog, the last few months at the TRC have been used to sort, photograph and catalogue a collection of 1920’s-1940’s textiles and garments from a family in Wassenaar, which is close to Leiden. The donation also included what appeared to be a small box of buttons, buckles and clasps, which fitted into our work on textiles and fashion.

The buckles and clasps were quickly catalogued and put online, but the buttons presented a totally different challenge. There were hundreds of them! What should we do with them! Keep them all? Make a general collection or something more complicated, namely a reference collection? The latter could then be used by the TRC and others for identifying and describing buttons from all ovet the place and from all periods. Buttons seem so ordinary they are often forgotten or regarded as unimportant. Such a reference collection would take them out of obscurity.

With typical TRC bravado we have decided to make such a reference collection. The button descriptions have been divided into the following: a. Materials used to make the buttons (from bone to plastics); b. General appearance (bell, convex, concave, flat, round, square, etc); c. Parts of a button (and there are an intriguing range of elements for something so small); d. Different types of fastening systems (through, shank, stud, etc); e. Function (buttons, inside buttons, shoe, glove, dress, waistcoat, uniform, etc).

It will be a while before the whole Button Reference System is working in a satisfactory manner, but we feel that this and similar reference collections will make a big difference in creating a more accurate description of what we actually have in the ever growing and quite frankly, quite amazing TRC Collection.

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Sunday 13th May 2018

 

   

Lace and the TRC

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Detail of a Christening veil from Brussels, Belgium, c.1820 (TRC 2014.0831).

Detail of a Christening veil from Brussels, Belgium, c.1820 (TRC 2014.0831).

TRC volunteer Olga Ieromina and director Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood are busy at the moment sorting out and cataloguing the TRC’s extensive lace collection. The main theme of the collection is 'technique' and it includes needle laces, bobbin laces, net, knotted (tatting, macramé), looped (knitted and crochet), and embroidered forms, as well as a range of machine made laces (levers, chemical, etc).

During the next few weeks more and more items relating to the production of lace will be made available to view in the TRC Collection online. These include tatting shuttles, hairpin lace frames, a wide selection of crochet hooks from the early twentieth century, as well as various types of lace bobbins and related equipment.

Most of the TRC lace dates to the 19th and 20th centuries, but we hope to increase the range of examples over the next few years to make it into a comprehensive reference collection for the identification of lace.

The weekend of the 8th-9th September 2018 will be dedicated to a two-day course given by Olga on the identification of different types of lace and an explanation of how these are made (click here for more information and registration). This course is designed for people with little knowledge of the various types of lace, but will also be of interest to the experienced.

If you have any examples of old lace that you would like to donate to the TRC, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us at Dit e-mailadres is beschermd tegen spambots. U heeft Javascript nodig om het te kunnen zien. .

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Thursday 10th May 2018

   

The TRC online exhibitions

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Pair of daily lotus shoes, early 20th century (TRC 2013.0063a-b).

Pair of daily lotus shoes, early 20th century (TRC 2013.0063a-b).

In order to put the TRC Collection in context AND online, we are busy making a series of online exhibitions that reflect the diversity and depth of the 20000 items in the catalogue. So far there are eight exhibitions already completed. They range from Afghan dress, postcards from the First World War, clothing from the ‘Stans’’, feed sack dresses and quilts, to Berlin wool charts and appliqués made by the men and women of the Street of the Tentmakers in Cairo.

Three exhibtions have just recently been finished. The first is an exhibition of Berlin wool charts, recently donated to the TRC collection.

The second is about ancient Greek loom weights in the TRC collection associated with the warp weighted loom. This exhibition is by Shelley Anderson and helps place the archaeological weights in their historical and technological context.

The third online exhibition is about Chinese lotus shoes worn by girls and women at the beginning of the 20th century. The TRC collection includes a variety of different types and sizes of these tiny shoes, as well as items relating to the making of this form of footwear, including patterns, thread, embroidered panels, irons, awls and small wooden lasts. There are regional variations as well as different domestic items, such as leggings, silk bandages, bridal shoes, daily shoes, mourning and funeral shoes, even a pair of overshoes with iron cleets for wearing in rainy and muddy conditions. This exhibition is dedicated to Mrs. Mariet ter Kuile-Portheine, a long time friend and supporter of the TRC.

In addition to the above exhibitions the two Manchester students who are currently at the TRC are working hard on their own online exhibitions. The exhibition by Kate is about urban underwear from the late 19th century until the 1960’s and will included cotton, lace and knitted examples. Kazna is busy with one about Yemeni dress for men and women. She is also thinking about making an exhibition about the different types of face veils.

We are also thinking about a digital exhibition on the decoration of women’s hats in the 1920’s and 1930’s based on a collection of over 700 items given to the TRC by the family of Mrs van Rijckevorsel van Kessel (Wassenaar). She was a textile buyer for the Dutch fashion house of Doorn. The items in this collection were either worn by her or collected during her working life. Mrs van Rijckevorsel van Kessel was a dedicated decorator of hats and the collection include hat bases, a wide range of bands and ribbons, to feathers, beaded panels and buckles.

Sunday, 15th April 2018. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood

   

In de ban van de kous

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10 maart 2018: Reconstructie van 17de-eeuwse kousen uit een scheepswrak gevonden voor de kust van Texel. Foto: Museum Huis van Hilde, Castricum.

10 maart 2018: Reconstructie van 17de-eeuwse kousen uit een scheepswrak gevonden voor de kust van Texel. Foto: Museum Huis van Hilde, Castricum.

Het is zaterdag 10 maart: Vandaag heb ik iets bijzonders op het programma staan. Ik mag dit weekeinde, samen met een stuk of honderd anderen, naar een reconstructie van 17e-eeuwse zijden kousen. Er wordt door het Textile Research Centre in Leiden een experiment gedaan met het reproduceren, onderzoeken en het gebruik van deze kousen en ik mag daaraan meedoen.

Met de trein van Groningen naar Castricum, drie keer overstappen, ik verheug me op wat komen gaat. In de laatste trein, Amsterdam Centraal naar Castricum, hoor ik opeens, door het geroezemoes in de coupé heen, iemand "0,7" zeggen. Het is als een afgesproken code-woord. Ik weet dat deze mensen hetzelfde reisdoel hebben als ik en ik sluit me bij hen aan. In Castricum, bij  het archeologisch museum Huis van Hilde, ziet het er al gezellig druk uit. Als we naar binnen mogen staat er een ontvangstcomité op ons te wachten. Bij hen leveren we de kleine, gebreide stukjes zijde in die we bij de vorige bijeenkomst mee hebben gekregen als onderzoeksmateriaal, gebreid op pen 0,7 en pen 1, met verschillende soorten zijde. We krijgen een beschrijving van een deel van de kous waar we dit weekeinde op zullen oefenen. Een zaal met zo’n honderdvrouwen en één man, voornamelijk Nederlands maar de bijeenkomst wordt ook bijgewoond door mensen uit Hongarije, Portugal en Duitsland.

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About white, blue, grey and pink collar workers

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Clerical collar of an Anglican vicar (TRC 2018.0902).

Clerical collar of an Anglican vicar (TRC 2018.0902).

Last week the TRC was given an Anglican priest’s detachable collar (the so-called ‘dog collar’; TRC 2018.0902), this week we were given a small collection of blue shirt collars. All of which led me to think about the English language idioms ‘white collar worker’ and ‘blue collar worker.’

A ‘white collar worker’ is associated with the detachable shirt collars made of white, highly starched linen or cotton. These were worn by professional and administrative staff, such as managers and accountants in the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. In contrast, ‘blue collar workers’ were generally manual workers and associated with shirts of blue, brown, etc., which were easier to keep clean. These two terms represent two different social groups and occupations.

Lees meer: About white, blue, grey and pink collar workers

   

"Jewellery: Made by, worn by

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Showcase with feather jewellery from Brazil, in the exhibition "Jewellery: Made by, worn by", in the Volkenkunde Museum, Leiden. Photograph: Shelley Anderson.

Showcase with feather jewellery from Brazil, in the exhibition "Jewellery: Made by, worn by", in the Volkenkunde Museum, Leiden. Photograph: Shelley Anderson.

This is the name of the latest exhibition at the Volkenkunde Museum (Ethnographic Museum) in Leiden. Some 1000 pieces of jewellery are currently on display, out of the Museum‘s collection of thirty thousand pieces. Interestingly, in addition to the pieces themselves, the exhibit focuses on makers of jewellery. There are dozens of videotaped interviews with makers of both modern and traditional jewelry, from Japan, the Netherlands, Yemen, Ghana, India, the USA and elsewhere.

The exhibit is broadly divided into four sections, based on materials. The first section was an eye opener for me. An astonishingly wide variety of materials from nature have been, and still are, used to make jewellery. The necklaces, bracelets, brooches and head gear on display are made from stone, flowers, seeds, shells, bone, feathers, teeth, antler, hair, skin, wood and plant fibres. Many of the objects in this section are from indigenous cultures, like the large opalescent mother-of-pearl pendant, engraved and then rubbed with red ochre, from an Aboriginal nation in Australia, or the jade hei-tiki Maori pendants.

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The ever growing TRC collection: About lace, velvet, and knitted underwear

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Red velvet bag from nineteenth century Iran (TRC 2002.0115).

Red velvet bag from nineteenth century Iran (TRC 2002.0115).

The last week or so have been very busy at the TRC. We have been sorting out the little depot, removing stands, adding racks, and putting items on the table to be photographed, catalogued and boxed. The lace collection, for example, is being moved from one storage system to another, with a much more suitable drawer system. In the process the lace will be further sorted and the descriptions refined. Thanks to the Pepin Donation, there is also a large number of machine made lace samples to be added to the lace collection. The TRC collection now includes a wide range of hand and machine made forms for people to study and be inspired by.

Speaking of inspiration: We currently have two students (Kate and Kazna) from the Manchester School of Art who are helping, among other things, to photograph and catalogue a collection of 1930’s textiles, accessories and fastenings that came from the aunt of a family now living in Wassenaar. The aunt was a textile buyer for a Dutch fashion house during the 1930’s and many of her items were stored in a flat that had to be emptied. She was also involved in the decoration of hats and had a supply of felt hat bases, satin and velvet hat bands, as well as items to decorate hats including hat pins, hat jewellery, feathers, beaded appliqués and buckles. Do you know the difference between a buckle and a clasp? And what exactly is a frame buckle and do you know that they can be divided into practical and decorative forms? There is always new to learn at the TRC.

Lees meer: The ever growing TRC collection: About lace, velvet, and knitted underwear

   

Painted curtains again, in Assen

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The paintings of hanging curtains, Statenzaal, Drents Muzseum, Assen, The Netherlands (photograph Willem Vogelsang)

The paintings of hanging curtains, Statenzaal, Drents Muzseum, Assen, The Netherlands (photograph Willem Vogelsang)

Late December 2015, I wrote a blog about the paintings of curtains in various ancient monuments in Rome, including the Temple of Romulus at the Forum Romanum, in the Sistine Chapel and in the Santa Maria Maggiore (click here). In the summer of 2016 I saw similarly curtains being painted on a wall in the Chapel of St Gabriel, in Canterbury Cathedral. Last Sunday I saw painted curtains again, but this time at a very unexpected place, namely the beautiful Drents Museum in Assen, capital of the Dutch province of Drenthe.

Painting of curtain, Drents Museum, Assen.

Painting of curtain, Drents Museum, Assen.

On 25th March, the Museum opened a photo exhibition of Dutch military in Kabul, and I had been asked to give a talk about Afghanistan. The Museum is housed in the former Provinciehuis ('Provincial House'). When I was shown the room for the lecture, I was absolutely amazed. It was the so-called Statenzaal, the room where in the past the Staten ('Estates') of Drenthe would meet. This council constitutes the legislative body for the administration of the province.

The room dates to the late nineteenth century and is lavishly decorated, among others with paintings by the Austrian painter Georg Strum. They show the history of the province, from prehistory to the nineteenth century. The building, and its Statenzaal, were designed by Jacobus van Lokhorst, and the actual building was started in 1882. The decorations of the Statenzaal date to this period.

But what attracted my attention in particular were the paintings of curtains, so reminiscent of what I had seen in Rome two years ago. I attach a photograph of the room and one of its walls, decorated with the panels with the painted curtains.

Willem Vogelsang, Saturday 31th March 2018

   

Manchester interns at the TRC

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Kate and Kazna at the TRC, March 2018

Kate and Kazna at the TRC, March 2018

It’s always fun to volunteer at the TRC, but today was particularly so. That’s because I got to meet two new women who are also passionate about textiles: Kazna Asker and Kate Askham. Both are 21 years old and both are second year fashion students at the Manchester School of Art (part of the Manchester Metropolitan University) in the UK. They will be at the TRC for two months in order to learn the ins and outs of managing a textile and dress collection, and especially to help photograph and catalogue the TRC’s growing collection.

“People are the most important thing to me. That’s what textiles should be about,” says Kate. She sees working at the TRC as a way to gain inspiration for modern design and information on the historical roles textiles have played in the past. “I like the stories that come with textiles and how much that tells you about people and how societies were at specific times.” Next year she will have to design six different outfits for her courses, so she is looking forward to bettering “my knowledge of historical pieces, of shapes and patterns”.

Lees meer: Manchester interns at the TRC

   

TRC and the Fowler Museum, Los Angeles

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Last summer (2017) Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, director of the TRC Leiden, spent ten days in Los Angeles working at the Fowler Museum, on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. In particular she was working on a collection of early 20th century Syrian garments, including abayas, head coverings and çarsafs. Some of the garments are the most beautiful examples of silk tapestry weaving.

The TRC has just been informed that it has been officially asked by the Fowler Museum to curate an exhibition about the Syrian garments and to write a catalogue to both the collection and the exhibition. All being well the exhibition will open in Los Angeles in February 2019. More details will be published in due course.

   

Textiles in Venice

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Italian, 18th century embroidered waistcoat, from the Palazzo Mocenigo, Venice.

Italian, 18th century embroidered waistcoat, from the Palazzo Mocenigo, Venice.

Venice has been a centre for making and trading textiles for centuries. There are two definite places to see for textiles lovers. Palazzo Mocenigo, housed in a 17th century palace, is home to the Centre for Textile and Costume Studies. Most of the displays involve the restored palace itself and its rich furnishings, but there are many beautiful textiles in nearly every room. These include numerous 18th century Venetian velvets and brocades, and some rarer 13th and 14th century fabrics.

The palazzo also has many examples of textiles that can sometimes be overlooked: male clothing. You can see the 18th century black wool or red damask robes of public officials, and a whole room devoted to waistcoats. Fifty-six waistcoats, mostly from the late 18th century, are on display.

Today’s waistcoat evolved from a knee length, completely buttoned from the front, jacket that was worn underneath a coat for extra warmth. The front was usually of some costly material, such as silk, while the back was made from less expensive cotton or linen. In the 18th century this jacket grew shorter, until it reached just below the waist. By the end of the century it had lost its sleeves. Most of the waistcoats on display are silk, often beautifully embroidered, sometimes with gold or silver thread.

In 2014 the Centre joined Google’s #WeWearCulture project. This project showcases the museum’s work and can be seen at https://artsandculture.google.com/project/fashion 

Reaching the next textile highlight involves a ferry ride to Burano, an island in Venice’s lagoon. Burano has a long history of lace making. During the winter of 1871-72, the island’s economic mainstay of fishing was destroyed when the lagoon froze. Women returned to lacemaking to generate income, and a lacemaking school was set up. The old school grounds today house the Lace Museum, with its incredible collection of both needle lace and bobbin lace. There is lace beginning from the 16th century to today. The permanent exhibition begins with several short videos, in different languages, on how lace is made. There is also an excellent display which shows lace making all across Europe.

Length of Italian needle lace, late 16th century. Lace Museum, Burano, Venice.

Length of Italian needle lace, late 16th century. Lace Museum, Burano, Venice.

There are lots of tourist shops which sell machine lace on this small island. If you are looking for handmade bobbin lace, one of the best places to go is Atelier Martine Vidal, which also has a beautiful collection of antique lace on display. Venetians proudly claim that needle lace was invented in the 1500s in Venice itself. A visit to the Lace Museum may not confirm this claim, but it certainly shows you why Venetians are proud of their lacemaking tradition.

Shelley Anderson, Friday 23rd March 2018.

   

Textiel Museum, Tilburg

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Textiel Museum Tilburg. Exhibition '1920s Jazz Age - Fashion & Photographs'.

Textiel Museum Tilburg. Exhibition '1920s Jazz Age - Fashion & Photographs'.

Yesterday, Gillian and I travelled to Tilburg, in the south of the Netherlands. Gillian had been asked by the British journal Selvedge to write a brief review of a new exhibition mounted at the Textiel Museum. I happily plodded along. I had never been to this museum before, and was very curious. I love visiting museums and exhibitions, but to be honest, I find some of them more interesting for their exit than their entrance. What was the Textiel Museum going to be like?

Tilburg is a former centre of the Dutch textile, and in particular wool industry. I had read before that the museum was housed in the premises of the former textile firm of Mommers. I was therefore wondering whether the Textiel Museum would be yet another place that was trying to keep alive, in a somewhat nostalgic manner, the former glories of an industry that had long disappeared. But I was very pleasantly surprised to find a very lively and active textile centre with some excellent exhibitions, with working machinery, and with craftsmen/women and artists actively doing their work. Perhaps the word ‘Museum’ for this place is a bit of a misnomer. It is far more than a series of rooms and corridors with objects being displayed. It is fascinating to see how wool was carded, reeled, and in the end worked into cloth on looms, many of which are shown in the museum and many of which are actually in active service. There was also a display of all the machinery used to make damask linen cloth; absolutely fascinating.

Textiel Museum Tilburg. Exhibition 'Colour & Abstraction - Generations in Dialogue'.

Textiel Museum Tilburg. Exhibition 'Colour & Abstraction - Generations in Dialogue'.

But it was not only the machinery that intrigued me. Also many of the objects on display as well were well worth seeing. One of the temporary exhibitions was about the so-called ‘flappers’, the young girls of the Charleston age in their relatively short dresses. It showed the mainly American fashion of the 1920s. I know, the clothes on display were for the well-to-do, but it does produce a happy smile.

Textiel Museum Tilburg. Exhibition 'Colour & Abstraction - Generations in Dialogue'.

Textiel Museum Tilburg. Exhibition 'Colour & Abstraction - Generations in Dialogue'.

But what we really came for was a new, temporary exhibition called ‘Colour and Abstraction. Generations in Dialogue,’ which can be seen until 3rd March 2019. We were shown around by one of the museum’s curators, Suzan Russeler, who guided us with great enthusiasm along the objects. Since the exhibition only opened yesterday afternoon, I think we were the first visitors. But it was certainly busy when we left.

The exhibition includes art works made during the last sixty years by a number of design artists, and using textile as their main medium. The exhibition includes works by Rafaël Rozendaal, who uses images from the internet and social media to create a mesmerizing array of geometric shapes and colours. There is also a beautiful wall hanging designed by Peter Struycken, with a mishmash of subtle colour combinations. There are also art works that are three-dimensional and thus make ample use of the flexible nature of the medium by providing spectacular changes with the use of light and movement.

Some of the objects on display were actually designed and made at the Textiel Museum itself, in its so-called TextielLab, which is a space that provides the facilities for artists to experiment with designs, colours, techniques, but also with types of yarns, dyes, etc. And what is great, is that visitors to the museum can have a good glimpse of what is being done in the Lab. It was bitterly cold, but the museum cafe served excellent coffee, and while drinking that, you can admire the textile decor. No regrets. Well worth a visit. The website of the Textiel Museum is https://www.textielmuseum.nl/en. The photographs were made by Gillian.

Willem Vogelsang, Sunday 18th March 2018

   

A Manchester flavour

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Two Manchester students at the TRC Intensive Textile Course, March 2018.

Two Manchester students at the TRC Intensive Textile Course, March 2018.

This last few weeks have had a Manchester flavour! And I am not talking about football teams. On the 6th-7th March, I was in Manchester, UK, to discuss the various ways the TRC Leiden and the Manchester School of Art (part of the Manchester Metropolitan University) could work together. The School is geared towards the training of textile designers who specialise in a variety of subjects, such as embroidery, knitting, printing and weaving. These subjects include both hand and machine forms. There is also a large fashion department training the students to design future fashions.

Lees meer: A Manchester flavour

   

A child's history

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Outfit for an orphan girl, early 20th century, Foundling Museum, London.

Outfit for an orphan girl, early 20th century, Foundling Museum, London.

The Foundling Museum in London is a fascinating piece of social history. This compact museum records the history of orphans and of those who tried to help them. The story begins in 1741, when the Foundling Hospital (think ‘hospital’ in terms of ‘hospitality’, not medical treatment) was established in Blooomsbury, London, to care for abandoned and neglected children. The orphanage was in operation until 1924, and the building was demolished in 1926. The orphans were rehoused outside of London. The Museum is housed in another building, not far from the original premises, at Brunswick Square.

The displays include oral histories, paintings (William Hogarth was a supporter of the Hospital) and other art works. The latter includes a moving piece made in 2012 by Emma Middleton, and deals with responses from teachers to the orphans’ uniforms. Called “Labelled”, it features a row of pegs on which hang identical white cotton school shirts, each with a red stitched label. The labels record sentences the orphans were told in school: “I hate you”, “If you can’t bring a pencil with you, don’t come”, “You are stupid”. Nearby are two brown serge childrens’ uniforms: a dress and white apron and bonnet for girls; a black necktie, white shirt, red wool waistcoat, trousers and cap for boys. The example on display dates to the twentieth century.

Lees meer: A child's history

   

Bolivian and Peruvian hats for women

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Bolivian woman’s hat with sequins and beads from the Tarabucco region of Bolivia (TRC 2018.0600; v/d Bijl collection).

Bolivian woman’s hat with sequins and beads from the Tarabucco region of Bolivia (TRC 2018.0600; v/d Bijl collection).

During the 1990’s Yvonne van der Bijl was travelling through Bolivia and Peru as part of her work as a travel guide author. During her visits she started to make a small collection of Bolivian and Peruvian hats for women. She used these in her books and articles, as well also as part of a gallery exhibition about South American headwear held at the LAC Gallery, Amsterdam in 1998.

Woman’s hat with sequins and beads for an Aymara woman, Tarabuco region of Bolivia (TRC 2018.0602; v/d Bijl collection).

Woman’s hat with sequins and beads for an Aymara woman, Tarabuco region of Bolivia (TRC 2018.0602; v/d Bijl collection).

Yvonne van der Bijl is now downsizing and tidying up and as a result a few days ago twenty Bolivian and Peruvian hats for women arrived at the TRC ! Over the next few weeks the TRC will be sorting out, cataloguing and photographing the hats, but if you know of any books and articles in which there is detailed information about the different types of Bolivian and Peruvian hat styles for women can you please get in contact with us at: Dit e-mailadres is beschermd tegen spambots. U heeft Javascript nodig om het te kunnen zien.  

Peruvian woman’s hat with deep red fringe from the Checaspampa region (TRC 2018.0593; v/d Bijl collection).

Peruvian woman’s hat with deep red fringe from the Checaspampa region (TRC 2018.0593; v/d Bijl collection).

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Sunday 11th March 2018

Peruvian woman’s embroidered hat from the Cabanacone region, Colca Canyon region (TRc 2018.0603; v/d Bijl collection).

Peruvian woman’s embroidered hat from the Cabanacone region, Colca Canyon region (TRc 2018.0603; v/d Bijl collection).

   

Texel Silk Stockings Project and workshops at the TRC

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Workshop on the reconstruction of 17th century hand knitted silk stockings, TRC, February 2018.

Workshop on the reconstruction of 17th century hand knitted silk stockings, TRC, February 2018.

As part of the Texel Silk Stockings Project, and following an initial workshop on the island of Texel some weeks ago, the TRC Leiden recently hosted three further workshops, namely on Sunday 18th February (twice) and Friday 23rd February. Each of the three workshops was attended by some 25 volunteers. The Project has the aim of reconstructing the silk stockings that were discovered at a shipwreck that dates to the 1640’s. The ship was found off the coast of the Dutch island of Texel a few years ago.

The TRC is involved in writing a detailed publication about the stockings, how they were made, who made them and indeed who might have worn them. The Project is led by Leiden city archaeologist Chrystel Brandenburgh and helped by TRC volunteer, Lies van de Wege, and a large group of dedicated knitters who come from all over the world – literally. The vast majority of knitters come from the Netherlands and Belgium, but there are people involved in the Project from Hungary, Portugal, Germany, England, as well as America and Canada.

Lees meer: Texel Silk Stockings Project and workshops at the TRC

   

Georg Stark at the TRC on indigo-dyeing

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George Stark at the TRC, 14th February 2018

George Stark at the TRC, 14th February 2018

Georg Stark is one of a handful of traditional indigo printers and dyers left in Germany. He has also been researching the history of this craft for some 35 years. All of this experience made for a fascinating lecture recently at the TRC on the 14th of February.

Over 150 years ago indigo printing with wooden blocks was practiced all over Europe, from Spain to Russia. One of the first recorded workshops for printing cotton opened in 1672 in Amersfoort. An even earlier workshop to print and dye cotton, run by Armenians, was opened in Marseille, France. In 1681 the first workshop opened in southern Germany. By the 1730s there was a Dutch poem that boasted that “we on the Amstel can do the same quality of work as the cotton printers of Java.” The Dutch East India Company (VOC) had an important role in the transfer of this skill to Europe, as it regularly brought ready-made garments from India to Europe and beyond.

Lees meer: Georg Stark at the TRC on indigo-dyeing

   

String piecing

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Annelien van Kempen was one of the participants to the TRC workshop on string piecing on 31st January, as given by Linzee McCray. She proudly sends us a series of photographs of her 'Spring Sack', sized 66 x 45 cm, which she finished after a week's hard work on the basis of what she learnt at the workshop.

Annelien van Kempen Atelier: Trix Terwindtstraat 2, Leiden Postadres: Buitenruststraat 32, NL - 2271 HB Voorburg T 06 15626367 E  Dit e-mailadres is beschermd tegen spambots. U heeft Javascript nodig om het te kunnen zien.  W http://www.annelienvankempen.nl  Luchthollers: https://www.pixum.nl/mijn-fotos/album/5833342 

   

Feedsack and quilting week

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Andrew Thompson interviewing Linzee McCray, 1st February 2018. Photograph by Shelley Anderson.

Andrew Thompson interviewing Linzee McCray, 1st February 2018. Photograph by Shelley Anderson.

We have just had a very busy, noisy and instructive week at the TRC. From the 30th January to the 3rd February it was feedsack and quilting week at the TRC. It was organised as part of the TRC’s current exhibition about American feedsacks, their social and economic context and how they helped clothe and warm (literally) thousands of Americans between the 1920’s and 1960’s. The week was made possible by Linzee McCray, author of the book Feed Sacks: The Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric (2017). The week was originally organized so that Linzee would give the lectures and workshops, while I would give the guided tours. However, it quickly became apparent that Linzee felt very much at home with the Dutch and so she offered to give all the guided tours as well.

Tuesday (30th January): Linzee gave a lecture on the history and use of feed sacks to a full audience (this lecture was the first of the activities to fill up very quickly). The participants heard the multi-faceted and at times complex story of feedsacks.

Wednesday (31st January): There was a workshop on string piecing, the use of strips of cloth to produce enough blocks to create a quilt. Again the workshop was full so the group was divided into those with sewing machines and those who wanted to hand sew. The TRC workshop is a large room and flexible, so it was easy to accommodate the 16 people who had signed up for this fascinating event. Cloth, thread, people quietly chatting, as well as the hum of sewing machines filled the TRC. During the Wednesday afternoon, Andrew Thompson came to the TRC to make a film about the feedsack exhibition and to talk with Linzee about the history of feedsacks. This film can be seen on YouTube.

Participants to the feedsack and quilt week, inspecting the items on display. Photograph by Shelley Anderson.

Participants to the feedsack and quilt week, inspecting the items on display. Photograph by Shelley Anderson.

Thursday (1st February): This day saw Linzee giving a talk about Art quilts of the Midwest. This was based on her experience with making various art quilt exhibitions, with the central question: ‘what is quilting’ (the American definition of three layers of cloth stitched or fastened together in some manner was used), followed by ‘what is an art quilt’? It was clear that some people were in agreement with the term art quilt, while others were not. What everyone agreed with is that this type of quilting takes the technique of quilting towards a new direction.

Friday (2nd February): Friday included the second workshop on Stitch-and-Flip, a quilting technique for using every single last scrap of cloth in various colourful manners. Again the workshop was filled by enthusiastic quilters, some of whom came to every single event on each day of the quilting week.

Saturday (3rd February): Today was a question-and-answer day about American feedsacks and quilts and various people came with suitcases filled with both! There was a lively discussion concerning the history and nature of the objects brought for discussion. And in between the quilt questions, Linzee was able to give two guided tours. Before we knew it, it was half past three and nearly time to stop.

During some of the discussions that took place during the feedsack and quilting week, there was a call made for creating an International Quilting Centre that could act as a source of inspiration and knowledge about quilting – the mainstay would be American quilts, but the whole world (literally) of quilting would be included, ranging from European, Middle Eastern, Indian to other Asian items. The TRC is ready to accept this challenge! However, it would require considerable funding and space to make this idea into a reality. On the other hand we have already been offered, as donations, several quilt collections from the US and the Netherlands to ‘kickstart’ such a centre. Linzee and Sherry Cook in the US have also offered to talk with friends and collectors to help make this International Centre a reality.

The feedsack and quilt week was a great success thanks to all the TRC colleagues, Linzee McCray in particular, and the financial support of the American Embassy, The Hague. The exhibition can be seen until 28th June.

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Sunday 11th February 2018

   

Ancient Siberian bling

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Golden vase from Kul Oba in the Crimea, 4th century BCE, with a relief showing group of Scythians.

Golden vase from Kul Oba in the Crimea, 4th century BCE, with a relief showing group of Scythians.

“Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia” was a recent exhibition at the British Museum (London). The Scythians were a nomadic people who, during the period of 900 to 200 BCE, dominated the grasslands from southern Siberia to the Black Sea. They were fierce fighters, a fact written about by the Assyrians, the Persians and the ancient Greeks (the latter also admired the Scythians’ drinking prowess). The Scythians were also master craftspeople.

The exhibition showcased stunning examples of Scythian gold work, including elaborate gold belt buckles, earrings, and plaques to decorate clothes, quivers and bow cases, and gear for horses. The larger gold buckles and plaques often have textile impressions on their backs, which is evidence of a specific way of casting.

Detail of the golden vase illustrated above (not the same scene as above). The two Scythians depicted have the characteristic long hair and beard. One of them has a high pointed cap. They both wear trousers and a tunic.

Detail of the golden vase illustrated above (not the same scene as above). The two Scythians depicted have the characteristic long hair and beard. One of them has a high pointed cap. They both wear trousers and a tunic.

There were many examples of beautifully preserved textiles. The Scythians buried high-status individuals in kurgans, or burial chambers built of wood and stone. The organic remains were often frozen, and so preserved for over two thousand years. There were coats of squirrel fur (the fur on the inside) finely sewn with sinew. On one woman’s coat, the stitches were less than 1 mm long. This same coat was trimmed with fur that had been dyed with indigo and madder, and decorated on the outside with intricate, differently coloured, leather appliqués. The appliqués were further decorated with small bronze plaques that had been covered with gold foil. Interestingly, the cuffs of the narrow sleeves had been sewn shut, a feature seen on other such coats.

Both men and women wore woollen trousers (additionally, women wore long woollen skirts). There were several expertly woven wool fragments on display—some dyed with five colours (blue, green, red, orange and yellow). People were also buried with unique, high head gear, made from leather and felt; some burial mounds also contained decorated felt stockings; and woollen rugs or coverlets.

There were two objects on display that I will remember for a long time. One was a beautiful felt swan figure, which dates to the third century BCE. It was found with three other similar swans and may have been sewn to decorate a cart. Stuffed with straw, with a black bill and yellowish-red tail feathers, it is charming. The other object was a red leather woman’s shoe. This dates from the late fourth to the early third centuries BCE. The toe is decorated with thick sinew wrapped with tin foil, to imitate silver. But it’s the sole of the show which shows real bling: edged with dark beads, small cubed pyrite crystals were stitched to form three diamond-shaped patterns. Even sitting on the floor, showing the soles of her shoes, the woman who wore this wanted to be fashionable.

The exhibition is now closed. Hopefully it will be on tour to other museums before it returns to its home in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. If it is, don’t miss it.

Shelley Anderson, Sunday 28th January 2018

   

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Donations

 
Financial donations to the TRC can be made via Paypal; Donaties aan de TRC kunnen worden overgemaakt via Paypal:
 
 

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TRC Gallery tentoonstelling, 22 jan. - 27 juni 2019: Fijn fluweel!

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Financiële giften

The TRC is afhankelijk van project-financiering en privé-donaties. Al ons werk wordt verricht door vrijwilligers. Ter ondersteuning van de vele activiteiten van het TRC vragen wij U daarom om financiële steunGiften kunt U overmaken op bankrekeningnummer NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, t.n.v. Stichting Textile Research Centre. Omdat het TRC officieel is erkend als een Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling (ANBI), en daarbij ook nog als een Culturele Instelling, zijn particuliere giften voor 125% aftrekbaar van de belasting, en voor bedrijven zelfs voor 150%. Voor meer informatie, klik hierVoor het overmaken van giften, kunt U ook gebruik maken van Paypal: