Photo essay: The fibre artist Sheila Hicks

The artist Sheila Hicks  was born 1934 in Hastings, Nebraska and originally trained as a painter at Yale under colour theorist Joseph Albers. In 1957 she won a scholarship to paint in Chile where she developed her interest in working with fibres. She went on to explore artisanal textiles in Columbia, Peru and Bolivia, worked in Morocco and India and founded workshops in Mexico, Chile and South Africa. Her textile sculptures seemed radical when compared to her minimalist and abstract painter contemporaries and they vary from enormous tangled wool mobiles to smaller framed woven sketches, though colour is always on the mind when viewing her work. She once described her Metamorphosis series as “bundles, I put netting around them to particularise the colours. I compose with them as masses of colour.”

Now 82, Hicks is based in both Paris and New York and her work is in the collections of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, London’s V&A, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Centre Pompidou in Paris among others. She has exhibited in solo and group shows in all the most prestigious venues around the world – most recently, at Toronto’s Textile Museum and the Glasgow International biennial festival of contemporary art.

The 77th Whitney museum biennale 2014

Les Escargots, 2003

Glasgow International 2016

In her Paris studio

Sheila Hicks Bamian (Banyan), 1968-2002

Sheila Hicks: 50 Years, 2011

Sheila Hicks in front of elements from The Treaty of Chromatic Zones, 2015

Emerging with Grace, 2016

Les Temps de lilas, 2014

All images on Pinterest

Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

The Chromologist 2018 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist