TRC Blog: Textile Moments

Silk Stockings Project: The Hall of Fame

The TRC Silk Stockings Project is progressing well. Last year summer, some forty knitters started with their attempt to knit stockings with extremely fine needles and equally fine silk threads. They were going to reconstruct the seventeenth century silk stockings that had been discovered in a ship wreck off the coast of the Dutch island of Texel some years ago. The first stockings have now been completed! The photographs show the proud knitters and their results. 

Read more: Silk Stockings Project: The Hall of Fame

   

The Feestrok revisited, by an American student

Charlotte Somerville, a student at Hampshire College, MA, USA, visited the TRC on 10 January 2019, and she wrote the following blog:

For my thesis project at Hampshire College, in Massachusetts, I am researching the feestrok (which translates to 'skirt of celebration'), a national initiative that took place in The Netherlands in the years immediately following the Second World War. The initiative consisted of the creation of patchwork skirts – using patches that held special memories for their female creators. These were to be sewn onto an existing backing in any manner that pleased the creator.

Read more: The Feestrok revisited, by an American student

   

The Gilet Jaune (Yellow Jacket)

A gilet jaune, or yellow jacket, from France, the symbol of anti-government protests (TRC 2019.0005

A gilet jaune, or yellow jacket, from France, the symbol of anti-government protests (TRC 2019.0005

On Saturday, 5th January 2019, TRC volunteer Shelley Anderson writes:

My late father-in-law decided to stop driving his car when he was in his 80s. He lived just outside Paris, and could walk to the nearby train station and grocery store. Inside his car was a yellow high visibility jacket (sometimes called a high-vis jacket, or a traffic safety vest). The French government had made this inexpensive sleeveless, plastic vest with reflective bands obligatory for all motorists to carry in 2008. He gave the jacket to me. I recently donated the jacket to the TRC (TRC 2019.0005).

The mass produced yellow jacket is now famous throughout the world, thanks to protests by hundreds of thousands of French people. On 17 November 2018, to protest a proposed national increase in fuel prices, an estimated three hundred thousand people throughout France blockaded roads and fuel depots. They wore yellow jackets—gilet jaunes in French—as a sign of their opposition to the fuel hike in particular and to the rising costs of living in general. The following Saturdays saw gilet jaunes blockading more roundabouts and roads, and some airport runways, this time in Paris itself.

The yellow jacket was a perfect symbol for making a statement. It’s immediately recognizable, easy to obtain and cheap. It shows that the bearer belongs to a group of like-minded people. The yellow jacket has been quickly adopted by grassroot groups espousing different causes around the world, from Taiwan to Jordan. In Bulgaria, anti-government protesters wear it; in Pakistan, engineers wore it during a one-day strike in Lahore. There have been marches and demonstrations of yellow jackets in The Netherlands, Germany, Canada and Croatia. Early in December, Egyptian authorities severely restricted the sale of yellow safety jackets, afraid of protests that might commemorate the January 2011 uprising that toppled the Mubarak government.

As many have noted, this is not the first time in France that an article of dress has signified mass protest, even revolution. In 1789 the citizens who fuelled the French Revolution were called sans cullotes ('without breeches'). They wore trousers or pantaloons, not the silk breeches of the aristocrats. Dress has always been a sign of status, a symbol of belonging or exclusion—or opposition.

My father-in-law worked in a French trade union movement for his whole life. I wonder what he would have thought of the gilet jaunes? He deplored violence but welcomed ordinary people standing up for themselves. Mercí beaucoup, Robert.

   

Munich students visit TRC

Group of students from Munich visiting TRC, Friday, 4th January 2019.

Group of students from Munich visiting TRC, Friday, 4th January 2019.

Friday, 4th January 2019: Gillian Vogelsang writes:

Yesterday we received an email from Laurin Stöckert about a group of students from a student association of Near Eastern Archeology based at Ludwigs-Maximilan-University Munich (Germany). They are visiting Amsterdam and Leiden for a few days and will be visiting some departments of Leiden University as well as various museums.

Laurin asked if it was possible for them to come to the TRC to talk about archaeology, role of textiles and dress, etc. There were students ranging from first-year BA to PhD levels. Fortunately I was at the TRC on Friday morning (adminstration....) and was able to welcome them. The group stayed for two hours and we discussed and described the work of the TRC, the reason for the (active/holding) collection, and the meaning of Dress and Identity, both past and present. It was a really enthousiastic and fun group with lots of good questions and a feel for textiles and dress! If they are representative of the next generation of Middle Eastern archaeologists then there is a lot of hope for textiles. What a wonderful start to 2019!

   

American Quilts: 200 years of dedicated recycling

Modern American quilt with scalloped edge. Size: 234 x 204 cm (TRC 2018.3133).

Modern American quilt with scalloped edge. Size: 234 x 204 cm (TRC 2018.3133).

Sunday, 30th December 2018: Gillian Vogelsang, director TRC, announces a new exhibition at the TRC, to be opened in February 2020.

Almost four hundred years ago, in 1620, a group of 102 English Protestant Puritans left the town of Leiden where they had found refuge some ten years before, and sailed via Plymouth in England, on board the Mayflower, to Massachusetts in America. The Pilgrim Fathers, as they were to be called, are traditionally regarded as the founders of the United States. A daughter of two of the Pilgrims, namely Myles and Barbara Standish, has become famous for producing the first extant embroidery sampler in the USA, commonly known as the Loara Standish sampler. For more information on this physical link between Leiden and the Pilgrims, see the entry in TRC Needles.

To mark the 400-year anniversary of the Massachusetts settlement, in 2020, Leiden is organising the Mayflower 400 programme with a series of exhibitions, theatre productions, sports meetings, and many other events. For more information, see https://www.visitleiden.nl/nl/ontdek-leiden/specials/pilgrim

As part of the Mayflower 400 programme, the Textile Research Centre (TRC) in Leiden will be setting up an exhibition and series of workshops about two hundred years of American quilt making. This has been made possible by the recent donation of over fifty American quilts and quilt tops by Mrs. Sherry Cook and others. Examples of quilts dating from the 1830’s to the present day will be on display. A series of lectures on (American) quilts and quilt making will accompany the exhibition. There will also be practical workshops, during which various technical aspects of quilting will be explored.

The exhibition is being organised in conjunction with Sherry Cook from Washington state, USA; Susan Cave (New Zealand/The Hague) and Beverley Bennett (UK/The Hague).

   

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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.

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

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

TRC Gallery exhibition: 22 Jan. - 27 June: Velvet!

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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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