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)
Textilmuseum St. Gallen, 73004
Photo: Bruce M. White
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.