Erica Wilson, who passed away this past December, is an icon of the needlework world. In the early 70′s, she starred in a TV show on PBS dedicated to needlework. The show was called Erica, and as it was a teeny bit before my time, I can’t say I ever watched it. I’d love to see the show available as a DVD set – wouldn’t that be fantastic?
If you want to see Erica Wilson’s needlework show these days, you have to resort to the next best thing: some of the clips are available on YouTube now, thanks to Erica Wilson Nantucket, her Nantucket-based shop.
So far, six clips from Erica Wilson’s needlework show have been uploaded to YouTube. They include Embroidery in Gold Thread, Shisha or Mirror Work Embroidery, Crewel Point, Erica Wilson Stitches an Owl (from the episode Thinking Bigger), Thinking Big with Erica Wilson, and Bargello Needlework.
I’m hoping more will be added soon, and I thought it worthwhile to subscribe to Erica Wilson Nantucket (where you can find all the videos conveniently listed) on YouTube, just to keep an eye out for more. You might want to do the same thing – if the numbers are high enough, who knows? They might see the interest as a good reason to release more shows.
The videos are not only instructive, but they’re entertaining! She was an amazing woman, she had a great sense of humor, and she makes me chuckle! One of the funniest lines she delivers is in her Bargello video (right around 6:55 into the video), where she is explaining how fast Bargello grows: “It’s like eating peanuts. You can’t stop once you begin. The kettle will boil, the children will murder each other, but never mind, we must finish our Bargello!”
In the video titled Erica Wilson Stitches an Owl (from the episode Thinking Bigger), you can pick up some terrific embroidery tips. For example, at about 5:08 into the video, she explains how to transfer a large scale design on dark nubby fabric using tulle netting and a permanent marker. As she works the owl, you’ll pick up wonderful stitching advice that can be applied to all kinds of embroidery. For example, as she’s stitching in some of the feathers, and she’s talking about picking out stitches that don’t look right, she asserts, “You don’t always have to even take it out. You can sort of cover over some of your stitches, rather as you do when you’re oil painting.” I love her!
All of the videos are worth watching and are loads of fun!
So… grab a cup of tea and sit down with Erica Wilson on YouTube. If you’re like me, by the time you finish the six videos posted so far, you’re going to be clamoring for more!