TRC Blog: Textile Moments

Opening Velvet! exhibition, TRC, Leiden, 22 January

Leiden council Alderman Ms Yvonne van Delft (left) and Dr Gillian Vogelsang (right) at the opening of the Velvet! exhibition, TRC, 22 January 2019.

Leiden council Alderman Ms Yvonne van Delft (left) and Dr Gillian Vogelsang (right) at the opening of the Velvet! exhibition, TRC, 22 January 2019.

Gillian Vogelsang writes on Tuesday, 23 January: The new TRC exhibition VELVET! was opened yesterday in snow-covered Leiden by Alderman Yvonne van Delft, Leiden Council. Ms. Van Delft is responsible, among other things, for cultural affairs in Leiden.

Before the official opening we spent a while talking about the TRC, what we are doing and how, the collection and future possibilities, before carrying out the official moments.

 

Read more: Opening Velvet! exhibition, TRC, Leiden, 22 January

   

SOS, preparing two new TRC exhibtions

A pair of hand knitted Macedonian bridal socks, late 20th century (TRC 2019.0068a-b).

A pair of hand knitted Macedonian bridal socks, late 20th century (TRC 2019.0068a-b).

On Sunday, 20th January 2019, Gillian Vogelsang writes:

SOS: No, I am not asking for life-saving assistance. Instead I want to update the reader on the preparations for two exhibitions, namely one on hand knitted socks and other footwear, and another on men's ties and related neckwear. Perhaps some of you will understand the SOS?

The exhibtion on knitted footwear will open this autumn and will be based on the TRC Silk Stocking project and the recreation of the silk stockings recently found in a shipwreck off the coast of Texel in the north of The Netherlands. The other exhibition, on men's neckwear, is planned for the autumn of 2020, and will focus on men's ties and related garments. We have been publishing various announcements and blogs about the plans for both.

Anyhow, hence the title: SOS, which is the informal Dutch term for Sokken, Overhemd of Stropdas ('Socks, shirt or tie'), and for obvious reasons related to the sometimes awkward question what present to give to a man for his birthday or for St Nicholas.

Not long ago we announced via the TRC Newsletter and on TRC Facebook that we are looking for ties and hand knitted socks for these two forthcoming TRC exhibitions.

There have been numerous reactions and good suggestions about how to get these. One TRC follower in Australia is even asking a dedicated group of local spinners and knitters to make a pair of Australian socks for the hand knitted sock exhibition! A few days ago, someone popped into the TRC and left behind three pairs of socks, including a pair from northern India, one pair knitted by her grandmother, and a third pair that are a bridal form from Macedonia! I suspect that there are various brides to be in the Netherlands who would love to wear such amazing socks at their weddings!

And something completely different: Tuesday 22nd January will see the opening of the TRC’s latest exhibition about the history of velvet and the many different types and ways of using velvet. We put a complete list of all the objects on display onto the web, with direct reference to the online catalogue of the TRC collection, so that people who cannot personally come and see the exhibition will have an idea of what is included. It is a colourful and inspirational exhibition, with some items that are going to get people wanting to make their own velvet garments.

   

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.

   

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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. Holidays: until 11 August

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TRC Gallery exhibition: 5 Sept. -19 Dec. 2019: Socks&Stockings

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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.
 
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