Presented in conjunction with—and expanding on the European and American focus of—the exhibition Threads of Power: Lace from the Textilmuseum St. Gallen, this symposium brings together lacemakers and lace scholars to foreground historical and contemporary traditions of lacemaking from around the world, with particular emphasis on gender, labor, race, and identity. Talks will consider the variety of cultural landscapes from which lacemaking techniques and traditions emerge, the tools of the craft, and the significance of this labor-intensive textile in fashion.

9:30 am
Emma Cormack and Michele Majer
Bard Graduate Center

9:50 am
Kasuni Rathnasuriya
Reemergence of Artisanal Handmade Lace in Ready-to-Wear: The Story of KÚR

10:10 am
Ana Andrade
Codesigning with Lacemakers in Northeastern Brazil

10:30 am
Coffee Break

11 am
Lily Homer
Shpanyer Arbet: Shtetl Lace

11:20 am
Emma Welty
Shepherds of Needle Lace: Armenian American Lace after the Armenian Genocide (1915–23)

11:40 am
Discussion and Q&A


Threads of Power: Lace from the Textilmuseum St. Gallen is organized by Bard Graduate Center and the Textilmuseum St. Gallen. The exhibition will open at Bard Graduate Center Gallery in New York in September 2022 and will be available to tour after closing in January 2023. If you would be interested in touring the exhibition to your institution, please fill out this form and the curatorial team will be in touch with more information.

Generous support for Threads of Power: Lace from the Textilmuseum St. Gallen has been provided by the Coby Foundation with additional support from the Zurich Silk Association, Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, Consulate General of Switzerland in New York, Switzerland Tourism, Forster Rohner AG, Tobias Forster, AKRIS, and other donors to Bard Graduate Center.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit

Special thanks to the Finger Lakes Lace Guild as well as the New England Lace Group.


Ana Andrade is a designer, researcher, and entrepreneur who advocates for social welfare and sustainability causes in the fashion and textile industries. She devised the business model for VEREDAS after completing her university thesis at Central Saint Martins in 2019. For this venture, she received a prestigious and highly competitive “start-up visa” that was endorsed by the University of the Arts London. Currently Andrade spends her time between her business and design practice and conducting research towards her Master’s degree in social anthropology at the University of Oxford, where she focuses on material culture and the anthropology of craft.

Lily Homer is a multimedia artist whose work explores issues of disillusionment, contradiction, the Jewish diaspora, and absurdity. She weaves, intertwines, and combines pliable materials including steel wire, rope, and fabric, generating objects that oscillate between line and form. Homer’s research into shpanyer arbet, an esoteric lace technique, has also influenced this exploration. She brings her family’s history of craftsmanship into her work, manifesting her fears, anxieties, and hopes. Homer received a BA in architecture from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and an MFA in fiber and material studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Born on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Kasuni Rathnasuriya embraces the heritage of the country’s Portuguese and Dutch culture together with fine literature. The island life along its endless beaches has been the most important source of inspiration for her early work. Rathnasuriya has a diverse background. She began her studies in biology but eventually graduated from the Academy of Design, and she has traveled and lived in many different parts of the world. She launched her one-of-a kind clothing line KÚR in 2011. From its inception, KÚR incorporated handmade lace in contemporary fashion. Rathnasuriya made a product which speaks of “less impact to planet and more impact to people and community.” In 2011, the British Council recognized her talents and efforts with the prestigious Young Fashion Entrepreneur award. That same year, she was a finalist for the Ethical Fashion Award. Rathnasuriya has showcased her work at New York Fashion Week, Southbank London, and Australia. Her work has been featured in many publications such as Vogue, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Wear Daily, and others.

Emma Welty
is an artist, researcher, and writer with a textile-centered studio practice. Welty completed a BFA at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in fibers and art history and an MFA/MA in visual art and art history at Purchase College. Welty’s work utilizes ancestral traditions of Armenian carpet and needle lace to explore economies of labor, notions of “heirloom,” and cultural transmissions within a digital diaspora. Welty was recently in residence at the Museum of Arts and Design and the Woodbury Public Library, and she has shown at Studio Hill Gallery in Woodbury, Connecticut, Piano Craft Gallery in Boston, and Joseph Gross Gallery at the University of Arizona. She has an upcoming show at the Newport Museum of Art in Rhode Island.