Judith and Holofernes Bobbin-Lace Collar

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Judith and Holofernes bobbin-lace collar, commissioned
by Bard Graduate Center for Threads of Power: Lace from
the Textilmuseum St. Gallen
Elena Kanagy-Loux (American, b. 1986)
United States
2022
Silk
Bard Graduate Center, New York

Contemporary lacemaker Elena Kanagy-Loux found inspiration for this specially commissioned collar in several examples of antique lace that illustrate the Old Testament story of the widow Judith beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes. While most of these historical examples are made of needle lace, Kanagy-Loux deliberately chose to craft her version in a style of bobbin lace inspired by twentieth-century central European lacemakers. The form of Kanagy-Loux’s piece evokes the pronounced scallops of Genoese bobbin-lace collars of the seventeenth century. Her decision to use red silk instead of the traditional white linen or undyed silk is a deliberate one—the dash of red at the wearer’s neck is at once a nod to the striking colorful accents of the historical pieces and a reminder of Holofernes’s ultimate fate. In Threads of Power, the commissioned collar is presented alongside a photograph of Kanagy-Loux wearing the piece, a privilege not extended to early lacemakers.

Judith and Holofernes bobbin-lace collar, commissioned by Bard Graduate Center for Threads of Power: Lace from the Textilmuseum St. Gallen
Elena Kanagy-Loux (American, b. 1986)
United States
2022
Silk
Bard Graduate Center, New York

It took Kanagy-Loux 200 hours over a period of one year to create this collar. Watch selections from her time-lapse process video for a sense of the time and labor required to produce such an intricate piece of lace.

Time-lapse documenting the creation of the Judith and Holofernes bobbin-lace collar

Elena Kanagy-Loux photographed by Rose Callahan in September 2022 in New York