WGBH Openvault

Erica; Shisha Work

Part of From the Vault. Part of Erica Wilson: The Julia Child of Needlework.

02/01/1972

Shisha (pronounced with a short ‘i,’ as in ‘ship’) is an embroidery technique in which tiny mirrors (originally pieces of reflective mica) are attached to fabric. It originated in northern India in the 17th century. At the beginning of the episode, Erica shows an 18th century piece of shisha from India. She also wears a dress made from an antique piece of shisha that was cut down at some point. Since it is a difficult technique to master, the project for the episode is simply learning how to do shisha. To begin, one must select the tiny mirrors to be used. Erica advocates using circles of linen-backed Mylar, rather than using actual mirrors, as it is easier to work with. Alternately, if backed Mylar cannot be found in one’s local craft store, cutting out small circles from index cards and wrapping them in heavy-duty aluminum foils works as well. Much of the episode is spent with a demonstration of the tricky double chain stitch that is used to permanently hold down the “mirrors” once the initial octagonal holding stitches are in place. At the end of the episode, Erica suggests projects that one could do in shisha once one has mastered the technique. She notes that shisha looks particularly striking on denim, and proposes shisha-embellished blue jeans (hand-wash only) or a denim pillow. Erica also shows a dress with shisha accents made by one of her students in Nantucket. Summary and select metadata for this record was submitted by Amanda Sikarskie.


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Series
Erica
Program
Shisha Work
Program Number

117

Series Description

Needlework series with Erica Wilson. “Erica Wilson, noted American authority on needlework, invites the viewer to explore the exciting possibilities of indulging his creative and artistic talents. In this series of color videotaped 15 minute programs she illustrates the wide vocabulary of stitches used in many types of embroidery including traditional crewel, needlepoint, bargello, and crewel point.

As well as demonstrating these stitches, Erica gives professional hints on creating useful and decorative objects. She encourages personalizing an original or derived design through the selection of motif, materials, stitch, color, texture, and size. C. 1971-2 Series release date: 1971

Program Description

Shisha (pronounced with a short ‘i,’ as in ‘ship’) is an embroidery technique in which tiny mirrors (originally pieces of reflective mica) are attached to fabric. It originated in northern India in the 17th century. At the beginning of the episode, Erica shows an 18th century piece of shisha from India. She also wears a dress made from an antique piece of shisha that was cut down at some point.

Since it is a difficult technique to master, the project for the episode is simply learning how to do shisha. To begin, one must select the tiny mirrors to be used. Erica advocates using circles of linen-backed Mylar, rather than using actual mirrors, as it is easier to work with. Alternately, if backed Mylar cannot be found in one’s local craft store, cutting out small circles from index cards and wrapping them in heavy-duty aluminum foils works as well. Much of the episode is spent with a demonstration of the tricky double chain stitch that is used to permanently hold down the “mirrors” once the initial octagonal holding stitches are in place.

At the end of the episode, Erica suggests projects that one could do in shisha once one has mastered the technique. She notes that shisha looks particularly striking on denim, and proposes shisha-embellished blue jeans (hand-wash only) or a denim pillow. Erica also shows a dress with shisha accents made by one of her students in Nantucket.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type

Video

Subjects
India – Decorative Arts
Embroidery
Wilson, Erica
Needlework – Instruction
Clothing and Dress – Blue Jeans
Shisha Work
Genres
Instructional
Topics
Crafts
Creators
MacLeod, Margaret I. (Series Producer)
Contributors
Field, James (Director)
Wilson, Erica (Host)
MacLeod, Margaret I. (Producer)
Mahard, Frances (Other (see note))
Publication Information
Copyright © 1971 Erica Wilson and WGBH Educational Foundation
Citation
Chicago: “Erica; Shisha Work,” 02/01/1972, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 4, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_4B9631140E1F4FE78F00D8120CAA2D67.
MLA: “Erica; Shisha Work.” 02/01/1972. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 4, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_4B9631140E1F4FE78F00D8120CAA2D67>.
APA: Erica; Shisha Work. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_4B9631140E1F4FE78F00D8120CAA2D67
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