Careers in Textiles Symposium

What is a Career in Textiles? HGA’s two-day online symposium spotlights leading professional and industry trendsetters, sharing their experiences and providing insights on the diverse and changing landscape of textiles and fiber art. The symposium is open to all, but is geared toward young professionals, recent graduates, and students.

March 24, 2023, Day 1:

Representing different areas within the textiles career field, HGA’s invited speakers will share their knowledge and enlighten attendees to potential opportunities in the field.

10:00 - 10:15 am Opening remarks: Elizabeth Williamson, HGA Executive Director, and Mark Grigalunas, HGA Board of Directors
10:15 - 11:15 am Session #1: Bill Taylor, Jr., Hickory Throwing Company
11:15 - 11:30 am Break
11:30 am - 12:30 pm Session #2: Keith Leonard, Knits All Done
12:30 - 1:30 pm Speed Networking or Lunch Break
1:30 - 2:30 pm Session #3: Suzanne Bonser, Soft Home Textile Designer & Product Development NYC
2:30 - 2:45 pm Break
2:45 - 3:45 pm Session #4: Michelle Clarke, Link Furniture
3:45 - 4:00 pm Break
4:00 - 5:00 pm  Session #5: Scott Kravet, Kravet Inc.
5:00 - 5:15 pm Concluding remarks: Elizabeth Williamson, HGA Executive Director, and Mark Grigalunas, HGA Board of Directors

March 25, 2023, Day 2:

Schools and universities will share information on their textile design and fiber art programs.


Fiber Art Program Presentations:

10:00 - 10:15 am Haywood Community College
10:15 - 10:30 am North Carolina State University
10:30 - 10:45 am Thomas Jefferson University
10:45 - 11:00 am Parsons School of Design
11:15 - 11:30 am Kent State University School of Art
11:30 - 11:45 am College for Creative Studies
11:45 - 12:00 pm Rhode Island School of Design
12:00 - 12:15 pm Fashion Institute of Technology


Please note, scheduled speakers are subject to change.

Registration Costs:
$ 0 - Students & all HGA Members (donations are encouraged)
$20 - Non-HGA Members
Members, when registering, you must first login to My Account or you will not receive the Member rate. Not a member? Join Today. For assistance please call (678) 730-0010 Monday-Thursday, 9 AM - 5 PM ET.

Meet our Careers In Textiles Presenters

Friday, March 24

10:15 - 11:15 AM

Bill Taylor, Jr.

President, Hickory Throwing Company

Bill Taylor, Jr., President of Hickory Throwing Company, hails from a family of textile entrepreneurs. HTC was established in 1939 as a throwster for filament yarns and has grown to become a spun yarn twister and sales/distribution organization. HTC specializes in stock service dyed yarns, featuring recycled cotton yarns, filament polyester and nylon, as well as hemp and linen blend yarns. In house twisting allows for bespoke custom yarns.  Their customer base includes upholstery weaving, hand knitting and weaving, hosiery knitters, circular knits, narrow fabric weavers and braid manufacturers.  

Friday, March 24

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Keith Leonard 

President/Owner, Knits All Done

Keith Leonard began his knitting journey when he joined a lunch time knitting program in elementary school. Once the knitting bug bit, the itch never went away. After graduating from college, he started a knitwear finishing business called Knits All Done, completing hundreds of finishing projects for clients all over the United States.  His finishing expertise organically transitioned into teaching knitting classes, and he has taught his skills to thousands of knitters throughout the country. In 2019 Keith started his own yarn line,, and he currently spends his days producing astonishingly vibrant skeins to put in the hands of knitters. 

Friday, March 24

1:30 - 2:30 PM

Suzanne M. Bonser 

Soft Home Textile Designer & Product Development NYC

Suzanne started her career with a BA in Fine Art with a portfolio textile designs for prints and woven focused towards the home industry when designs were actually painted on paper with gouache paints. 

Her first job was with Covington Textiles, a so called “converter” to the trade of upholstery fabrics sold to furniture manufacturers. From there she segued into freelance design, expanding into fashion textiles as well as gift products. Her clients included Westpoint Stevens, Avon Products, Sunbury Textile Mills, Bloomcraft, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bob Timberlake, Calvin Klein Home, Christopher Maya Interiors, and Marcie Bronkar Home Couture. One of her commissioned designs for Martex bedding won the Cotton Incorporated Award. 

Specializing in the recreation of antique documents for modern printing and weaving techniques, Suzanne worked for such varied licensees such as Biltmore Estates, Save Venice, Paloma Picasso, Hearst Castle and the Musee des Arts and Decorations, Paris. Suzanne’s understanding of textile and product manufacturing and construction was informed by travel to factories in the US, China, and Turkey. 

Trend reporting trips included Heimtextile in Frankfurt, Germany and Maison et Objet in Paris. Her most recent post was Creative Director for Zorlu USA, the New York showroom of the Turkish Textile company. Her responsibilities included product development of new bio fibers and tech fabrics, and showroom set-up for the bi-annual Home Textile Market Weeks, design direction, product development and trend reports focused on their customer’s needs, staff training and travel to the factory in Turkey. 

Suzanne has always been inspired by the art world, past and present and shares a studio with seven other artists where she paints in oils and watercolors. 

Friday, March 24

2:45 - 3:45 PM

Michelle Clarke

Designer/Fabric Sourcing, Link Furniture

Michelle Clarke graduated with a B.A degree in Textile Design from the National College of Art & Design in Dublin, Ireland. Michelle moved to New York City to pursue a career in textiles, where she began her 25-year career. She worked for several American mills weaving for the apparel market but was drawn towards creating textiles for the home.   

With that focus in mind, Michelle joined Sunbury Textile Mills where she grew her career there for the next 18 years. She specialized in designing decorative jacquard wovens for performance brand Sunbrella and established her position as VP of Design. She helped develop the aesthetic to appeal to a more high-end client base, through yarn development, color, and hand. 

While working for Sunbury Textile Mills, Michelle worked with Link from the beginning of their textile collection and collaborated with Doug & Gene Meyer. She helped build their line into a successful performance fabric collection. ‘I felt an affinity with Link and the next step in my career felt like a natural one by joining the Link team as their Design Director of Soft Goods.’ 


Friday, March 24

4:00 - 5:00 PM

Scott Kravet 

Chief Creative Director, Kravet Inc.

Scott Kravet is the Chief Creative Director of Kravet Inc., overseeing all aspects of product development for Kravet Inc. and its brands. An alumnus of Emory University and the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, Scott was a member of the fourth generation to join the family business, which was founded by his great grandfather in the early 1900s.  

As head of product development for Kravet Inc., Scott manages creative teams in five design studios in New York and worldwide. He has a near encyclopedic knowledge of textiles, and he travels the globe sourcing products from the finest craftsmen and best mills.  

Fiber Art Programs

These universities offer programs of study in the fiber arts.

Click here to add your university or college's fiber art/textile program.

Please Note: This listing is provided as a courtesy. It is not a complete listing nor is it an endorsement of any individual or organization listed. The information was provided by the organization or its representative. HGA does not warrant the accuracy or validity of the information, and hereby disclaims any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions.

For more information call (678) 730-0010 or email