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.

The exhibition is curated by Lies van de Wege, collection manager at the TRC and a highly experienced knitter. In addition to the Texel element, there are many examples of hand knitted socks from around the world, showing different techniques, patterns and colour combinations. 

The Socks&Stockings exhibition will open your eyes to the surprising world of hand knitted socks. Your ideas about socks will will never be the same again.

The exhibition will be opened on the 5th September by the famous BBC presenter and dress historian, Amber Butchart, who will give a lecture on socks and stockings in Western fashion, from 14.00 PM, followed by the official opening at 16.00 and a small buffet.

Please register in advance, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Admission to the lecture is 7.50 euros, to be paid on the day.

 

The TRC in July and August

The TRC will be closed until 11 August. We will open our doors again on Monday, 12 August 2019. The Out of Asia exhibition can be seen from Monday 12 until Thursday 15 August.

 

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

 

Out of Asia: 2000 years of textiles. 12 - 15 August 2019

Lingerie bag from Japan, made for the European market, 1930s (TRC 2016.2172).

Lingerie bag from Japan, made for the European market, 1930s (TRC 2016.2172).

As part of the many events around the International Convention of Asia Scholars (Leiden, 16-19 July 2019), the TRC has set up an exhibition Out of Asia: 2000 years of textiles, on the theme of Eastern textiles and their popularity throughout the ages in the Middle East and Europe. The exhibition will include over eighty textiles, garments and outfits. 

The exhibition includes a plethora of items that illustrate how people in the Middle East and Europe have for long been fascinated with Eastern textiles and dress. There will be actual fragments of silk textiles that were transported along the Silk Roads about two thousand years ago, and also a Roman-period textile that copied Central Asia forms. This type of textile (taqueté) became so popular in the Middle East that it is still being made in Egypt and, until some years ago, in Iran. Also on display are Indian block printed export textiles from the thirteenth century, which were discovered along the Red Sea coast in Egypt (and much older than any extant examples from India).

More recent textiles and garments (eighteenth century onwards) include urban and regional Dutch garments made with Indian and Indonesian materials, French woven silks with representations of Oriental figures, as well as a wide range of Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Indonesian style textiles (most of these date to the twentieth century).

The exhibition can still be seen from 12th -15th August at the TRC, Hogewoerd 164, Leiden, each day between 10.00 - 16.00.

Read more: Out of Asia: 2000 years of textiles. 12 - 15 August 2019

 

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

 

TRC online exhibitions

Craftsmen at work in the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, Egypt.

Craftsmen at work in the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, Egypt.

The TRC is very proud to publish the first eleven of a planned series of online exhibitions, which will highlight some of the fascinating textiles and garments in the TRC collection. The latest, Lace identification: 7 examples, has just been added. The online displays are all based on the TRC Collection and past TRC exhibitions, which can be lend out to other suitable venues. If you are interested, please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it us.

Please have a look and enjoy.

The eleven titles are:

 

 

 

A Russian ribbon with a history

A St. George ribbon, produced and distributed in Russia to mark the end of World War II (May 2019). TRC collectiom

A St. George ribbon, produced and distributed in Russia to mark the end of World War II (May 2019). TRC collectiom

On Saturday, 18th May 2019, TRC volunteer Shelley Anderson wrote:

I visited St. Petersburg (Russia) on a national holiday. Victory Day, 9 May, celebrates the end of the Second World War, or, as it’s known in Russia, the Great Patriotic War. Millions had gathered in St. Petersburg to participate in a massive parade. Many carried placards with photographs of relatives who had fought and died during the war and the brutal siege the city had suffered. You could spot some people in 1940s-style military uniforms. Thousands of people also wore a ribbon on their chest.

I was curious about this wide ribbon, tied in a bow. It’s called the Saint George ribbon, after a patron saint of Russia, and has three black stripes and four orange ones. It is worn on the left side, closest to the heart, as a symbol of respect for those who  died during the war and as a symbol of pride in being Russian. Its history goes back to 1769, when Empress Catherine the Great first established the prestigious military decoration, the Order of St. George. The black stripe symbolised gun powder, while the orange symbolised the fire of war.

Read more: A Russian ribbon with a history

 

501(c)(3)

For many of us, the code 501(c)(3) means nothing, but in the US it is very important, it means that financial and object donations to a registered charity can be tax deductable for American tax payers.

From May 2019, the Textile Research Centre, Leiden (TRC Leiden) and the Tracing Patterns Foundation, Berkeley (TPF) will be working together to raise funds for textile studies and textile craftspeople worldwide.

The Tracing Patterns Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural organisation based in California and headed by textile scholar and curator Dr. Sandra Sardjono. All financial and object donations made through the TPF are tax deductible for US tax payers.

Read more: 501(c)(3)

 

Fowler Museum Los Angeles: Special exhibition curated by director TRC, 17 March - 18 August 2019

Woman's jacket from Syria, late 19th - early 20th cent., front and back (Fowler Museum at UCLA X2018.20.3).

Woman's jacket from Syria, late 19th - early 20th cent., front and back (Fowler Museum at UCLA X2018.20.3).

 

Dressed with Distinction: Garments from Ottoman Syria is the title of a new exhibition at the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibition explores the region’s textile production during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when Syria was an international hub for the trade and production of handwoven cloth.

With a focus on the social and seasonal contexts in which garments were worn by men, women, and children, the exhibition’s presentation of these distinguished textiles enables audiences to engage with Syrian culture and weaving techniques from a bygone era.

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Director of the Textile Research Centre (TRC Leiden). The exhibition can be seen until 18th August 2019.

For more information on the exhibition, click here.

 

TRC Intensive Textile Courses, 21-25 October and repeated 18-22 November 2019

Photograph taken at the TRC Intensive Textile Course in April 2017.

Photograph taken at the TRC Intensive Textile Course in April 2017.

In 2019, the TRC is again be running its successful five-day intensive courses on textiles. The first upcoming course is from 21-25 October, and is repeated from 18-22 November, and again four times in 2020 (16-20 March, 20-24 April, 21-25 September, 19-23 October 2020). The courses are being taught in English by Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, textile and dress historian and director of the TRC. The courses are a mixture of theoretical and practical elements, with an emphasis on trying out the various techniques of textile production (spinning, dyeing, weaving), 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. 

 

Read more: TRC Intensive Textile Courses, 21-25 October and repeated 18-22 November 2019

 

Ties to history. A new TRC exhibition for 2020

Statue of one of the soldiers in the tomb of the Chinese Emperor Shih Huan Ti (d. 210 BC), wearing a neckband. President Donald Trump's name is shown on a tie label in the background, advertising Trump's fashion line of ties (incidentally, made in China).

Statue of one of the soldiers in the tomb of the Chinese Emperor Shih Huan Ti (d. 210 BC), wearing a neckband. President Donald Trump's name is shown on a tie label in the background, advertising Trump's fashion line of ties (incidentally, made in China).

TRC volunteer, Loren Mealey, writes on Thursday, 3 January 2019:

In our twenty-first century, fashion appears to change every week. A man’s necktie, however, is an accessory that has endured social and cultural transformations for hundreds of years.

The traditional Western necktie has ancient antecedents and forms. The earliest representation of a piece of cloth or another material tied around the neck is a cloth worn by the first emperor of China, Shih Huan Ti, who died in 210 BC.  The accessory was depicted in his mausoleum in Xian, along with 7000 images of his warriors, meticulously carved in terracotta, and each wearing a neck cloth.

In Europe the large ruffs worn by men and women from the mid-sixteenth century for over a hundred years became iconic items in paintings of royalty and affluent merchants. Then came bandanas, bands, bolos, cravats, steinkirks, rabats, ties and all sorts of variations. But from ancient China to the red carpet of fashion shows, this men's wear accessory is consistently associated with identity, power and status.

Read more: Ties to history. A new TRC exhibition for 2020

 

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 has gone to Bloomsbury and the book should appear by the end of 2019. For the Bloomsbury announcement, click here. 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

 

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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. 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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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 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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