Sheila Hicks: dedicated to experimentation

By Patricia Cassidy

If you attended The Salon at the Park Avenue Armory this past November, it was hard to miss the works of Sheila Hicks brought to you by Demisch Danant Gallery. 

The Salon at the Park Avenue Armory, Sheila Hicks.
Textile Fresco, c. 1969
Five panels formed from twisted skeins of linen, silk, cotton
118.11 H x 133.86 inches

After seeing Hicks' show-stopping tapestry I was hooked. I recently met with someone from Demisch Danant who taught me a little bit more about the artist.  


Hicks was born in Hastings, Nebraska, 1938. She later attended Yale University of Art and Architecture in Connecticut, where she studied under the likes of Anni Albers, a textile designer from Bauhaus at Dessau. After obtaining her undergraduate degree in 1957, she was granted the Fulbright Grant. The grant allowed Hicks to live and teach in Santiago, Chile for a year, which she called her “Yellow Year”. Hicks continued to travel after her MFA at Yale.

Hicks works on a loom, 1960.

Hicks has always been inspired by her travels, experimenting with different objects, integrating feathers or shells into tapestries and learning new techniques. She has since spent decades in Paris, honing her craft.

Compass Arica, 2012-13
Linen, iron

She was dedicated to experimentation.

"I think geography was my favorite subject as a child. I came to the center of my life through all these excursions. My core became formed, formulated by extraneous voyages into different areas. In other words, I found who I was by going against myself.” - Sheila Hicks

Mega Footprint near the hutch (May I Have This Dance?), 2012
Scuplture in linen and corck
Gift of Target Corporation 2011.42
Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina 

Whether it be a tapestry, rug, or what looks like an organic pile of yarns, Hicks works with different yarns to achieve a beautiful complexity of colors. Textiles so rich that a picture just can’t do them justice.