Erica Wilson and Julia Child — Next door neighbors at PBS, superstars worldwide

erica wilsonEvery time I see a photo of Erica Wilson, or watch one of her videos, I am so struck by her creativity and her grace. Thanks to her daughter Vanessa for giving me permission to feature this lovely photo, which was first shown on Erica’s husband Vladimir Kagan’s blog. In his blog post, Mr. Kagan talks about the recent release of some of Wilson’s 1970s PBS shows, and I learned even more about this fascinating woman:

…Her groundbreaking first book, Crewel Embroidery sold over a million copies. She followed it with 16 other books on a diverse subject of needlecrafts… She was recognized in the tiniest backwater in America, the Hebrides, Queensland… wherever we traveled…. In the 1970’s she created her own TV series for WGBH and PBS. It was the most popular series after Julia Child’s… Erica’s studio was next to Julia’s. Her shows were seen all over the English-speaking world… the BBC picked it up for all of England, Scotland, Wales, Australia and New Zealand.

The most popular series after Julia Child’s… and studio next to Julia Child’s kitchen! Erica Wilson and Julia Child were the one-two punch of ambitious domestic instruction in postwar postmodern America, it seems.

Mr. Kagan goes on to explain that it was one of Wilson’s dreams to see her TV shows become more widely available. The project was in the works when she died suddenly in December. But now, we do have her videos. And they are delightful. Luv.

All my Erica Wilson stories:

  1. Wendy says:

    I just tried to watch the Erica Wilson Bargello Youtube video and it has been set to private. Any ideas on why? I am half way through my first bargello pillow and I wanted to watch the video again to make sure I wasn’t messing anything up and it’s not there anymore! Help please!…

    1. pam kueber says:

      Wendy, I emailed Erica Wilson Nantucket to ask why the video is down but have not heard from them…..

  2. Bobbie says:

    I bought one of her books last spring, along with two bargello books by Margaret Boyles. I have made the most amazing pillows since!

  3. clampers says:

    I just started a Jiffy Stitchery crewel kit (it’s my first time doing crewel)…the kit was vintage (maybe ’60s or ’70s) and I found it brand-new at a thrift store. Came with a little envelope with which you can order a frame…I really wish I could just stick my check in there and mail it off but I doubt the company exists anymore! It’s called Sunset Designs…I did a quick google search but nothing came up so I guess they’re out of biz.

    I like these Erica videos. I like her outfits a lot. 🙂

  4. Larry says:

    I just received two Erica Wilson books that I ordered from Amazon. Erica Wilson’s Embroidery Book and Erica Wilson Crewel Embroidery. I’m ready to dig in!

  5. Brian says:

    I am really enjoying these Erica Wilson posts! Brings back so many memories from my childhood. And by the way it’s “encroaching gobelin stitch” and is copied from the type of stitches used in ancient tapestries. There was a family of famous French dyers named Gobelin; I don’t know if the stitch is named after them but it is one of the oldest in use. Great posts!

  6. Retrosandie says:

    I haven’t done crewel embroidery in sooo long; but after watching these videos, I feel the interest stirring again! That’s one of the nice things about crewel work or even regular embroidery-the use of so many different stitches to gain texture. I enjoy watching these videos very much Pam! Thanks for posting them!!! 🙂

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