Erica Wilson was an embroiderer, designer, teacher, and businesswoman who hailed from Britain but lived here in the US from the 1950’s until her death in 2011.
Back in 2011, I wrote this very short little tribute to her. If you haven’t heard of her, it will introduce you to some of her books, which are definitely worth acquiring for your needlework library.
A graduate of the Royal School of Needlework, Erica Wilson deserves much credit for the revival of the needle arts in the US in the prosperous decades following World War II. She made needlework accessible and appealing to the masses. I think the comparison of her to Julia Childs (what Julia Childs did for cooking, Erica Wilson did for needlework) is a good one!
A couple years ago, I mentioned that a few episodes of Wilson’s embroidery show (called Erica, produced by WGBH Boston) are available on YouTube.
Well, a few are never quite enough, when it comes to these charming, quick little insightful episodes that demonstrate all kinds of helpful points about needlework.
So I’m happy to tell you that there are many episodes of Erica available for viewing here on Open Vault at WGBH. If you have a quiet Saturday or Sunday ahead, you could “binge watch” all of them!
Although the series is certainly dated (it was produced in the 1970’s, which is quite evident from the style of embroidery, the materials used, and so forth), the embroidery principles Erica talks about are timeless.
In 15 minutes or fewer in each episode, Erica manages to demonstrate several useful things about embroidery – from transfer tips to stitching tips, to advice on fabric, to general encouragement. There’s always something helpful to take away from each episode.
They’re fun to watch, too! Erica’s sense of humor is perhaps not as boisterous as that of Julia Childs, but there are definitely some Chuckle Moments peppered throughout the episodes.
I found the best viewing for the videos, which are rather low in resolution, is on a tablet. I also air-played them from an iPad to an Apple TV, and they looked ok on the TV screen. On larger computer screens, if you extend the video, you might find that your screen resolution is just too much for the low resolution video. Smaller, in those cases, is generally clearer. On smaller laptops and desktops, though, and on tablets, they’re fine. Any way you look at them, they’re a little grainy, but even though you might miss some detail, it doesn’t detract from the pleasure of watching them!
Enjoy the weekend!