New exhibition of American quilts: 20 August - 2 September

A late 19th century velvet crazy quilt from the USA (TRC 2018.2407).

A late 19th century velvet crazy quilt from the USA (TRC 2018.2407).

The TRC is organising a special exhibition in order to celebrate the recent donation of over twenty quilts and tops by the American collector, Sherry Cook. The exhibition will include many examples that this summer arrive at the TRC in Leiden. The exhibition will be presented for only two weeks, from Monday 20th August until the evening of Sunday, 2nd September 2018. Sherry Cook has written a brief blog  about the donation.

There will be a workshop on Wednesday 29th August (from 10.00 - 13.00 h) about the history of quilting and the archaeological evidence for a variety of different quilting techniques. The workshop will be given by Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (director of the TRC) and is a continuation of the workshop that was given earlier in the year. The August workshop will pay particular attention to the US Quilts exhibition, and provide the participants the chance to quilt with various types of materials, including felt and silk, as well as look at some historical quilting techniques from medieval Egypt. Please make sure to register well in advance ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )!

Next to the normal opening hours of the TRC, we will also open our doors on Sunday 2nd September from 12.00 until 17.00, so that many more people can come and see this special exhibition and donation.

  • US QUILTS: An exhibition celebrating the Sherry Cook donation
  • 20th August 2018 to and including the 2nd September 2018
  • TRC Leiden, Hogewoerd 164, 2311 HW Leiden, The Netherlands.
  • Entrance is free
 

Encyclopedia of Embroidery Series update

Preparations for Vol. 8 of the Encyclopedia of Embroidery series, covering the Antarctic, are already well advanced. Martin Hense, the draughtsman for the full series, just completed the first illustration.

Preparations for Vol. 8 of the Encyclopedia of Embroidery series, covering the Antarctic, are already well advanced. Martin Hense, the draughtsman for the full series, just completed the first illustration.

During the last few months the Encyclopedia of World Embroidery series (Bloomsbury Publishing, London), has been gaining momentum. The first volume on embroidery from the Arab World came out in 2016 (see here) and to everyone’s pleasure won the prestigious international award, the Dartmouth Medal.

Since then we have been working hard on volume 2, which is about embroidery from Central Asia, the Iranian Plateau and the Indian subcontinent (see here). The manuscript for this volume will be going to Bloomsbury in early autumn and it should appear by the end of 2019. Once again many people have been helping with advice, suggestions and with providing actual examples of embroidery.

For the next few years, we are planning the following volumes: 3 – Scandinavia and Western Europe; 4 – East and Southeast Asia; 5 – Eastern Europe and Russia; 6- Sub-Saharan Africa; 7- The Americas. 

 

Read more: Encyclopedia of Embroidery Series update

 

Newsletter TRC Silk Stockings Project

TRC Silk Stockings Project: Samples made by the volunteers

TRC Silk Stockings Project: Samples made by the volunteers

A Newsletter, in Dutch and English, on the progress of the TRC Silk Stockings Project, which relates to the reconstruction of silk stockings recently discovered in a seventeenth century shipwreck found off the coast of the island of Texel in the north of The Netherlands, was published on 5th July and can be read here, or click on the illustration. The project is sponsored by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRC receives grant to update its website and improve the online catalogue

Thanks to the generosity of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and the Themafonds Digitalizering Erfgoedcollecties Zuid-Holland, the TRC Leiden has received a substantial grant to update the online catalogue of the TRC collection, improve and extend the digital database and to revamp the internet presence of the TRC in general. The work will start very shortly in re-styling the database, updating programmes, and getting even more photographs and information online!

Read more: TRC receives grant to update its website and improve the online catalogue

 

Kisses and kangas

Kangas at the exhibition “Our Kisses are Petals’, at Newcastle’s BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Photograph: Shelley Anderson.

Kangas at the exhibition “Our Kisses are Petals’, at Newcastle’s BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Photograph: Shelley Anderson.

Shelley Anderson, volunteer at the TRC, writes about a recent visit to England:

The words ‘textile’ and ‘art’ caught my eye, of course, on a recent visit to the city of Newcastle in northern England. The exhibition “Our Kisses are Petals’ was on at Newcastle’s BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.

The artist was Lubaina Himid (born 1954, in Zanzibar), who won last year’s prestigious Turner Prize for modern art. The exhibition consisted of over a dozen large, banner-like canvases, attached to a system of pulleys. Each canvas depicted a part of the body, for example, the eyes, tongue, or heart, and a line of poetry by a black British or American poet.

Himid herself is the first black woman to win the Turner Prize. She is also the oldest, at 63, winner in history. Visitors were encouraged to rearrange the order of the quotes on the canvases by pulling on the pulleys. The paintings were based on the East African textile known as kanga. Also worn in Oman, the kanga is a versatile garment used by women as a dress, a head wrap, and sometimes a baby carrier.

Read more: Kisses and kangas

 

The TRC is closed for the holidays

The TRC will be closed for the full month of July. We will open our doors again on Monday, 6th August 2018.

 

Quiltnieuws article on TRC Feedsack exhibition

The June 2018 issue of the Dutch journal Quiltnieuws includes an article about the ongoing TRC exhibition 'For a few sacks more', which can be admired at the TRC until 16th August. Please click here to read the article.

 

An intriguing parliamentary uniform from Holland

Embroidered coat of the parliamentary uniform of Laurens de Groot (TRC 2018.2133a).

Embroidered coat of the parliamentary uniform of Laurens de Groot (TRC 2018.2133a).

A few weeks ago the TRC received a donation of a group of items belonging to Mariet Portheine-ter Kuile. This donation included fifty Berlin wool work charts that formed the basis for a digital exhibition on this subject [click here]. Since then various other items belonging to the Portheine-ter Kuile family have been given to the TRC, including a gala uniform associated with the Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal (commonly known as the Tweede Kamer), the Dutch equivalent of the British House of Commons.

The uniform consists of a gold embroidered coat, matching trousers, a bicorn hat with orange cockade, gloves and, of course, a sword. The uniform belonged to the politician, Frederick (Frits) Portheine (1923-1990), who had been a member of the Tweede Kamer between 1963 and 1981. This type of uniform was worn by members of the Tweede Kamer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries on all formal occasions. There were various rules concerning how such garments were worn, as well as colour coding. Ministers, for example, had white trousers with a dark blue coat, while members of the Kamer had dark blue trousers and coat. So what is the history of this particular uniform?

 

Read more: An intriguing parliamentary uniform from Holland

 

NewTextileBooks May 2018

The number of textile books being produced is steadily increasing and it is clear from the range of subjects covered in the following list that authors from diverse academic and non-academic backgrounds have become involved in placing textiles and dress within their well-earned positions in cultural studies - in all its many forms. To make it easier for the reader, the TRC librarians are in the process of putting all the recommended books, discussed in the preceding years, into a single list based on author and title, which will then be linked to the TRC Library catalogue. Anyhow, below is a varied list of some of the publications recently added to the TRC library. For the online catalogue of the library, click here. For the list of reviews published in December last year, click here.

 

TRC and Selvedge

The popular British textile magazine Selvedge has just published (9th May) a blog about the two Manchester students, Kazna Asker and Kate Askham, who spent two months at the TRC as interns and returned to England last week. You can read the story by clicking here.

 

For a few sacks more... TRC exhibition, extended until 16th August

Flour sack made from bright yellow cloth with printed flowers, to be used for clothing or other domestic textiles. USA, 1960s (TRC 2017.2403).

Flour sack made from bright yellow cloth with printed flowers, to be used for clothing or other domestic textiles. USA, 1960s (TRC 2017.2403).

For a few sacks more.... How feedsacks clothed and warmed Americans during the Depression and later

This TRC exhibition opened on the 15th January 2018 and is about printed feedsacks! For a photographic impression, click here. The idea for the exhibition came as a result of a donation in 2017 of 35 feedsacks made of printed cotton cloth. These items reflect a story of resilience, female ingenuity, thriftiness, sustainability, art and design, national awareness, as well as economic and commercial insight for nearly fifty years, from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. It is an amazing story, and one that is now barely known outside of the US.

These decorative versions of the feedsacks became very popular and were used for a wide range of items, including men, women and children’s clothing and household items, such as bedding (sheets, pillowcases, quilts), curtains, tablecloths, and clothes pin bags. In fact, they were used for just about anything.

The exhibition includes examples of actual feedsacks, as well as clothing, toys, curtains, bags, etc. made from this type of material. In addition, there are numerous bed quilts made from feed sack materials, which reflect the creative use of the sacks and cloth scraps.

But the story of feedsacks and their secondary use is not just confined to the printed sacks re-used in the USA. During the First World War (1914-1918), American and Canadian flour companies were producing printed flour sacks that were sent (with their contents) to The Netherlands (which was neutral) for distribution in war ravaged Belgium and beyond. Many of these sacks were later locally embroidered and sent back to America as souvenirs, ‘thank you’ gifts, to be sold in auctions to raise more money to buy flour to be sent to Europe. These sacks often had patriotic and hopeful messages in various languages. Examples of Belgian embroidered sacks and their stories will also be on display.

The latest (January 2018) issue of the British magazine Selvedge includes an article on feedsacks in connection with the exhibition. Click here for a PdF version. A review of the exhibition by the (Dutch) Quiltersgilde, dated 5th February 2018, can be downloaded here. A YouTube film made by Andrew Thompson can also be watched by clicking here. There is also a review of the exhibition in the Leiden University online international students newspaper, called Vox, dated 30th March 2018. Click here.

Thanks to the generosity of the Small Grant Program of the USA Embassy, The Hague, it has been possible to organise this exhibition and accompanying events to present this fascinating story.

 

 

 

 

TRC loan to Gorcums Museum

Bani Tamin woman's dress from Saudi Arabia (TRC 2005.0065).

Bani Tamin woman's dress from Saudi Arabia (TRC 2005.0065).

The Gorcums Museum in Gorcum, Gelderland, has organised a special exhibition on embroidery, with the title ‘Voor de draad ermee’. The exhibition can be seen from 7th April until 9th September this year. The TRC is very pleased to contribute to this event with the loan of 34 beautiful and spectacular pieces of embroidery from the TRC Collection. The embroideries are worked on dresses, headwear, footwear and panels that originate from Afghanistan, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Vietnam and Yemen.

Highlights from the TRC loan are the minuscule lotus shoes from China, a large dress from Saudi Arabia, and the Tunisian Raf-Raf wedding outfit. The exhibition has been curated by Linda Hanssen. For the exhibition website, click here.

Gillian Vogelsang, 29th March 2018

 

TRC and the Fowler Museum, Los Angeles

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.

 

TRC Intensive Textile Course, 15-19 October 2018

TRC Intensive Textile Course, 12-16 April 2017

TRC Intensive Textile Course, 12-16 April 2017

TRC has been organising an intensive one-week textile course for many years. The next course will take place from 15-19 October 2018. The course is being taught 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), and 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 be repeated from 19-23 November 2018.

Read more: TRC Intensive Textile Course, 15-19 October 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 in a nutshell

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.

Bank account number: NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

Current exhibition: For a few sacks more ...., until 28th June

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Donations

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 to the TRC can be made via Paypal: