Erica Wilson’s embroidery show, Erica, on public television station WGBH Boston, was one of my favorites (along with Julia Child’s The French Chef and Tom Baker as Dr. Who). I was transfixed by this tall, blonde, capable lady with the English accent—my mother, too, who set about re-covering chairs and footstools with colorful bargello work that popped against the Oriental rugs. Imagine my delight to discover (with Veruca Salt’s voice in my head—Why didn’t I know about this?) an episode (below) from the very show that mesmerised me (and there are others!). Erica Wilson’s books, illustrated by her husband, furniture designer Vladimir Kagan, are my stitchery bibles but seeing her work these stitches herself is immeasurably better. The Erica Wilson shop on Nantucket Island was a yearly must-see to investigate her new projects and soak up inspiration. Now being helmed by her daughter, Vanessa Diserio, the stock has expanded and Erica Wilson Needle Works kits and supplies are still available.
- I won’t go into her biographical details because so much has been
written recently; the best links are included on both Pam Kueber’s retrorenovation and Jenny Hart’s sublimestitching blogs. Erica Wilson left a legacy of beauty, of her own making and that of all the new needlesmiths she has created and inspired with her classes, books, kits, column and television show. She will continue to influence the use of traditional needlework in contemporary applications just as she fostered its use as a hallmark of mid-century style.
Also, in the spirit of Valentine season, here is a link to Vladimir Kagan’s blog in which, speaking of his wife, Erica, he discusses the general nature of friendship and love. Take notes.