A Bobbin-Lace Veil

It took Shirley K. Egan eight years (1996–2004) to complete a bobbin-lace veil for her daughter’s wedding. The noncontinuous bobbin-lace motifs were attached to silk machine-made tulle. Over 13,000 feet [4,000 m] of Egyptian cotton were used in the veil. Here’s Shirley’s account from the May/June 2006 issue of PieceWork.

It took me eight years to make the bride’s veil of bobbin lace on silk net, shown here, for the marriage of my daughter, Katherine Egan Cornell, to Brian McMeekin on July 31, 2004. Its motifs (worked in 100/2 Egyptian cotton thread) each have special meaning for the bride or groom. One flower motif comes from a little drawing that Katherine made when she was about six years old “helping Mommy design lace.” I’d kept it all those years, and she’d forgotten it, of course. I designed the maple leaf because my son-in-law is Canadian. The house wrens appear because of Katherine’s fascination with a pair that made their nest in a planter outside her bedroom window fifteen years ago. I used the same thread to make three-dimensional bobbin-lace orange blossoms and roses for Katherine’s hair so that after removing the veil in preparation for dancing at the reception, she would still be wearing handmade lace.

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Veil and three-dimensional hair ornaments of orange blossoms and roses made by Shirley K. Egan for her daughter. Bobbin lace. Purchased hair clasp. 2004. Photos by Joe Coca.

Katherine and Brian eloped four months after they became engaged, at a time when I thought that I still had another year to finish the veil. The saga of the veil does have a happy ending, though, as Katherine and Brian still wanted, and eventually had, a traditional wedding ceremony with family and friends present, and by this time I had finished the veil. To me, the veil symbolizes both my deep love for my daughter and son-in-law and their love for each other.

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Detail of the veil and Shirley K. Egan’s prickings and bobbins.

—Shirley K. Egan

Shirley K. Egan, an attorney concentrating in land use and environmental law, has been studying and making lace for more than two decades. She lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York with her husband, Bob Wanner, whom she thanks for encouraging her fascination with lace and for cooking all the meals.

Several articles on bobbin lace appear in PieceWork’s special issues on lace: July/August 2005 and January/February 2001. Take a peak at our newest issue devoted to lace, May/June 2018.


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