TRC Blog: Textile Moments

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

   

Sherry Cook, quilts, and the TRC Leiden

Late 19th century American 'crazy quilt', 159 x 135 cm, donated by Sherry Cook (TRC 2018.2407).

Late 19th century American 'crazy quilt', 159 x 135 cm, donated by Sherry Cook (TRC 2018.2407).

Sherry Cook writes from America: My husband, Darwin, and I downsized from a large home in the fall of 2014 and have had a lot of boxes in storage since that time. We are now building a barn that will have small living quarters and storage space so I can get myself and the boxes organized. We also have our 60th wedding anniversary in September, so the decision has been made to downsize even more, to get everything organized, and at a faster pace.

We have been donating textiles to the Center for American History (CAH) in Austin, Texas since 2008. You can google the “CAH” or “Sherry A Cook, Quilter” to see some of the items we have donated. But we have now decided to support and encourage the TRC Leiden. We are very impressed with TRC’s leadership team, volunteers and all their efforts to work with world textiles.

Read more: Sherry Cook, quilts, and the TRC Leiden

   

Box full of quilts

It is not often that I am hesitant to open a box of textiles, but this one has got me thinking very hard and long! By opening it we commit ourselves to increasing the USA textile and dress collection (a good thing) and to setting up the TRC Quilting Centre (also a good thing, but with lots of implications!).

The parcel comes from Sherry Cook in the USA and has eight quilts and quilt tops, plus feedsacks and other items. This is the first of several parcels, with the idea of Sherry donating many of her American quilts to the TRC in order to make a European based quilting centre that will look at quilting through the centuries from Roman times onwards, and throughout the world.

I have been discussing this idea with various colleagues, friends and quilters, and everyone things it’s the right thing to do, but it does have implications with respect to space, storage, exhibitions, workshops, etc. Within the last few days we have already been offered another collection of quilts from various countries, including Switzerland and New Zealand.

So I am taking a deep breath, drinking a cup of tea (I am British after all…..), and thinking about where further financial and logistical help can come from! But I know the TRC, we will do it and the TRC Quilting Centre will be a major addition to the study of textiles in the Netherlands (and elsewhere!). But it is going to be a very large pot of tea!

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 28th June 2018

 

   

Karen Finch (1921-2018)

Karen Finch (1921-2018) at the Textile Conservation Centre, Hampton Court (copyright The Guardian)

Karen Finch (1921-2018) at the Textile Conservation Centre, Hampton Court (copyright The Guardian)

We have just heard the sad news that Karen Finch has died. A Grande Dame in the best sense of these words. She was responsible for creating the Hampton Court Textile Conservation Centre and for bringing textile conservation into the professional world in Britain. She hammered home the message that textiles have a story to tell and should be treated with respect (and not simply as an ‘old rag’). A message that the TRC will continue to push, shout and battle for!

Karen also had an influence on me as a young student, she was always willing to answer questions, make suggestions and tell stories. When I first started as a textile archaeologist in the early 1980’s she gave me a one week ‘conservation’ course at Hampton Court – basically first-aid for textiles – free of charge and with the willing help of all her staff. A week that gave me confidence and helped me to the present day. We have kept in contact, as have many of her former students, even if it was only a Christmas card, or a quick chat at this meeting or that conference. I am proud to say I am one of her ‘girls’. Thank you Karen.

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Director, TRC Leiden.

For a full obituary of Karen Finch, click here.

   

The Dutch 'Feestrok'' celebrating liberation from Nazi-Germany

A 'Feestrok' from The Netherlands, celebrating liberation from Nazi-Germany, late 1940's (TRC 2011.0001a).

A 'Feestrok' from The Netherlands, celebrating liberation from Nazi-Germany, late 1940's (TRC 2011.0001a).

The June 2018 issue of the British magazine 'Selvedge' contains an article by Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, director TRC, about the so-called 'feestrok'. These were patchwork skirts made in The Netherlands after World War II to celebrate the liberation of the country.

 
The collection of the TRC contains an example of the Feestrok (TRC 2011.0001a), together with its official certificate (TRC 2011.0001b). For a preview of the Selvedge article, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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Donations

 
Financial donations to the TRC can be made via Paypal; Donaties aan de TRC kunnen worden overgemaakt via Paypal:
 
 

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 !

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 be made via Paypal: