Meet the Maker: Gillian Vogelsang – Eastwood

‘My name is Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood and I am the director of the Textile Research Centre (TRC) in Leiden. Next to that I have been working for years on the World Encyclopedia of Embroidery (Bloomsbury, London). There are now two editions, one about the  art of embroidery of the Arab world and one more recent edition about Central Asia, the Iranian Plateau and the Indian subcontinent. The next edition will focus on the art of embroidery of Africa, south of the Sahara. After that more editions will follow about Wester Europe and Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia and America.

I was born in West Yorkshire, England. When I was young we live in New Zealand for a while, but my parents decided to move back to England after a year. As a child I already was attracted to textiles and I wanted to work as an embroiderer. My teachers noticed my skills, but also pushed me to an academic path. I studied archaeology in Manchester with Middle Eastern textiles as specialism. This way I could combine my love for textile and research. During my studies at Cambridge I met Willem Vogelsang and instantly knew that this was him! I came to the Netherlands in the name of love, because he got a job here.

Willem is also an expert in the field of Central Asia, mainly Afghanistan. He is also a professional editor, which is why he could help me with the books and why his name is on their covers as well. We travel a lot together to do research.’

What can Crafts Council do for you?

‘We have to collaborate more to shine a light on the value of textile and to connect talent to knowledge.’

More of this entry is available in Dutch