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TRC Blog: Textile Moments

Kimono exhibition in the SieboldHuis, Leiden

Back of a Japanese kimono created by Itchiku Kubota, on display in the SieboldHuis, Leiden, The Netherlands

Back of a Japanese kimono created by Itchiku Kubota, on display in the SieboldHuis, Leiden, The Netherlands

Last night a friend and I went to the opening of a new exhibition, called Zijden Pracht (‘Silk Splendour’) at the Japanmuseum SieboldHuis, Rapenburg 19, Leiden, The Netherlands. The kimomos on display come from the Kubota Collection, Japan. The exhibition is curated by Linda Hanssen.

The exhibition focuses on the hand dyed kimonos made by the Japanese master textile dyer, Itchiku Kubota (1917-2003). Some of the kimonos took forty dye baths, 300 colours and up to a year to be created. The garments can be viewed (and worn) as individual items, but some of them were made and decorated as part of a series ('winter', 'autumn', 'universe') and can thus be placed next to each other to create a scroll-like painting, with the design moving from one kimono to the next. The attention to detail, in the main design, background patterns, and the overall effect, is truly amazing. These are the work of someone who has not just mastered his craft, but has shown to be a true genius.

There are sixteen kimonos on display and they are truly unbelievable. If you have the chance to see the garments then it becomes much easier to understand the intense amount of work involved in creating just one of these kimonos, let alone the various series. And it will leave you reeling.

The exhibition will be on display until the 31st May 2015, and if you are in Leiden then this is a MUST for anyone who loves textiles. It is not often you get a chance to see such works of art (literally) and these kimonos are simply and utterly stunning items.

Gillian Vogelsang, 7 March 2015

   

Men in burqa

We are so used to seeing Afghan women being clad in the all-enveloping burqas, or chadaris, that the garment has almost become an icon of Afghan society. Now I just came across a news report from Kabul about some young Afghan men donning the burqa. I quote a message from TOLOnews.com, by Tariq Majidi, published yesterday, 5 March: 

For the first time, more than 10 male civil society activists took to the streets of Kabul City on Thursday wearing burqas in protest of violence against women. The men sporting burqas began their protest in Pul-e-Surkh area of Kabul ending their march near the Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC), walking over 200 meters protesting against the harassment and violence the women of the country face on a daily a basis. "I walked the streets today in a burqa to understand how my sisters and mothers face violence from men on a daily basis," a protestor said. "I wanted to understand the situation." Several spectators ridiculed the men protesting, while others supported the movement. "I was sitting inside a restaurant eating breakfast when I saw the men marching down the streets in their burqas," Maisam, Kabul resident, said. "I lost it and couldn't stop laughing. Men should not being doing this." Fifty year old Haji Haider, a resident of Kabul, said this move made by the men spoke volumes. "This is the first that I'm witnessing such a protest," Haider said. "This is a very good move. It's a step forward in favor of the women." The men have filed complaints and cases to the IHRC and the government to resolve the increasing harassment and violence against women. This comes after a female wore an iron clad vest illustrating the curves of the female body on the streets of Kabul in protest of sexual harassment of females.

Willem Vogelsang, 6 March 2015

   

Madeleine Vionnet

Commemorative tile in Paris, dedicated to Madeleine Vionnet.

Commemorative tile in Paris, dedicated to Madeleine Vionnet.

TRC volunteer Shelley Anderson had another Textile Moment in Paris: “Avenue Montaigne is great for window shopping. It’s home to fashion houses like Gucci, Chanel, Prada, Dior and Vuitton, all competing to create eye-catching window displays. Thanks to TRC workshops and courses, I could work out how some of the outrageously priced clothing was constructed. But what was really thrilling was glancing down at the sidewalk in front of one shop and seeing a commemorative tile dedicated to fashion designer Madeleine Vionnet (1876-1975). Vionnet, who started out as a seamstress when she was 12 years old, revolutionized women’s fashion. She threw out frills and corsets, cut cloth on the bias for more freedom of movement, and used new fabrics like satin and gabardine. She gave her workers paid holiday and maternity leave, and had a day care centre on the premises—and a doctor and dentist. Her shop on Avenue Montaigne was nicknamed the “Temple of Fashion”.

21 February 2015

   

Het Huis van Hilde in Castricum, The Netherlands

Hillegonda, a mannequin dressed in 14th century clothing, Huis van Hilde, Castricum

Hillegonda, a mannequin dressed in 14th century clothing, Huis van Hilde, Castricum

TRC volunteer Shelley Anderson had a recent Textile Moment in the north of the Netherlands: “Het Huis van Hilde" (House of Hilde) is a new museum in Castricum, just south of Alkmaar, devoted to the area’s archaeology. It’s a state of the art depot which houses almost a million artifacts, of which a thousand are on display. What impressed me the most were the 14 life-sized models and the clothing they wore: Hilde, based on a 4th century CE skeleton, wore an ankle length woolen dress and large plaid shawl, and a necklace with beads of glass paste and gold foil. The Bronze Age girl wore a plaid skirt and plain blouse, carried a spindle, and had a bag (perhaps sprang) over her shoulder full of wool. The 14th century Hillegonda wore a beautiful blue cloak and long red dress, with a tablet woven decorative belt. See www.huisvanhilde.nl for more information.”

21 February 2015

Hilde, mannequin dressed in 4th century CE clothing, Huis van Hilde, Castricum

Hilde, mannequin dressed in 4th century CE clothing, Huis van Hilde, Castricum

   

The TRC in Edinburgh

The last few days have been very varied. I was asked by the organisers of the Iranian Festival in Edinburgh (February 2015) to give a brief talk about the history of the chador (Saturday 7 February, at the National Museum of Scotland) and then a full length lecture about Iranian regional dress at The Nomad's Tent on Sunday (8 February). It was fun talking about these subjects and listening to the other participants, that included Dr. Lloyd LLewellyn-Jones (Edinburgh University), Dr. Nacim Pak-Shiraz (Edinburgh University) and Dr. Friederike Voigt (National Museum of Scotland). A wide range of subjects were discussed, from early cut-to-shape Iranian garments, 19th century garments for men, and a small collection of beautiful women's garments from the Qajar period now in the National Museum.

But the weekend was not just about lectures. There was a chance to see an amazing and very beautiful range of clothing in a fashion show, called Persian Chic: Contemporary Iranian Fashion, which presented the work of four modern Iranian fashion designers, including that of Naghmeh Kiumarsi, 'Zarir', Diba Mehrabi and Kourosh Gharbi. The work of Gharbi was impeccable.

In addition, Willem and I also had the chance to pop into the National Gallery of Portraits, where we searched for paintings with embroidery. We spotted several that will be shortly appearing in TRC Needles. We also had fun chasing some leads to the early history of whitework embroidery in Edinburgh, including the history of Louis Ruffini, an Italian textile entrepreneur, who lived here along Nicolson Street in the late 18th century. Sadly one of the buildings he was particularly associated with has long been demolished, but opposite there is now a Starbucks, where Sunday afternoon, it so happened, we had coffee with Jennifer Scarce, a well-known Middle Eastern costume historian.

We are also looking for examples of Ayreshire whitework embroidery - should you have any you are willing to donate to the TRC then please let me know. Our goal is to turn the TRC into an international centre for the study of embroidery, and thanks to the help of many people we are well on the way!

We finished our all too brief excursion to Scotland with a long overdue visit to the most intriguing and fascinating chapel of Rosslyn.

Gillian Vogelsang, 10 February 2015

   

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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 !

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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 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
 
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