Erica Wilson is remembered as one of Nantucket's most treasured residents and "the First Lady of Stitchery." She was a designer, author, TV personality, and teacher. Known as the Julia Childs of stitching, Erica and her husband, Vladimir Kagan, famed furniture designer, settled on Nantucket after venturing to the island for a weekend getaway. Erica arrived in the United States in the early ‘50’s having been invited to come teach needlework to the ladies in Millbrook NY. Born in Tidworth, England she spent her youth in Scotland, London, and Bermuda. Once arriving in America and equipped with her Royal School of Needlework education, she soon established herself as a preeminent needlepoint instructor. She lent her needlework skills to teaching people far and wide while also stitching and designing for local businesses and churches where she would create intricate kneelers.
Erica opened numerous stores, Madison Avenue in NYC, Southampton, Palm Beach and our namesake store on Main Street, Nantucket. The store at 25 Main remains our Flagship location along with our robust website. In addition to her retail establishments, she manufactured needlepoint kits distributed nationally, was a designer sheets, fabrics and wallpapers, created designs for commemorative plates for the Franklin Mint, wrote over 24 books on needlework, and hosted a TV series on WGBH. Her legacy and entrepreneurial spirit lives on in our shop, with walls of colorful fibers and hand-painted needlepoint canvases.
Erica's love of Nantucket was passed on to her daughter, Vanessa, and granddaughter, Gigi; the creators of our Erica Wilson Exclusive Collections Vanessa and her daughters carrying on the heritage of this three-generation, women led family business and honor Erica's legacy with their designs.
Along with our signature EW designs, our year round shop also carries carefully curated selection of designers, all vetted by Vanessa and Gigi.
Erica's needlework, canvas designs, accessories and our weekly "Sip N' Stitch" classes remain an important experience in our Nantucket retail destination. Cheers to 60 years!