Image: Detail of a mola
The biggest shopping weekend of the year is now over, and how do we feel? Relief that all of the Christmas gifts have been finally bought? Or deflated from the relentless emails (we know we're one of them!) reminding you of the savings you can take advantage of, on the things you didn't realise you needed.
Giving Tuesday took place this week. Often described as a global day of giving or a global generosity movement, it is held each year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and has come to be seen as an antidote to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday spectacle. Earlier in the week, we highlighted a cause close to our hearts - the campaign of Textile Research Centre Leiden who are crowdfunding to be able to accept two impressive textile donations.
Image: A small part of the collection of Central and Southeast European garments, donated to the TRC.
The TRC has recently been offered two impressive collections of Central European and Balkan textiles, clothing and jewellery, as well as items from other parts of the world including Afghanistan, Central Asia, Georgia, Japan, Palestine, Syria, and America. The last includes a group of beautiful Middle American blouses with reverse appliqué (molas), and 36 traditional American quilts.
One of the collections is now in Paris and consists of over 800, mainly Hungarian and Romanian, textiles and garments. The other collection is in Arizona, USA, and includes just over 1000 items, with many items from Albania in southeastern Europe and Georgia in the Caucasus. It also includes a small library of relevant books.
Image: Detail of an Hungarian vest with hand embroidery, part of the French collection.
The TRC has provisionally agreed to accept these items, both of which complement each other and fill significant gaps in the existing TRC Collection. Should they be gathered under one roof, the dress and textiles collection would be one of the best in Europe and would reflect many different textile techniques and garment traditions.
Image: A selection of garments from Central Europe, donated to the TRC.
It is hoped that the embroidered pieces will be used for various volumes of the World Encyclopedia of Embroidery series (Bloomsbury, London), as well as for two in-person and online exhibitions, and films that cover regional forms of textiles and dress. They will also be used during workshops and study days that the TRC organises to support and encourage artisan skills, and to provide inspiration for present and future generations. Made available in an open access form, the two collections will also enhance an important cultural heritage resource for people living in many parts of the world.
Inevitably there are costs involved with transporting, cataloguing and storing these items. Two new cameras would be required, 400 acid-free storage boxes, as well as a new deep freezer!