Sheila Hicks

Weaving as Metaphor

Edited by Nina Stritzler-Levine; With Arthur C. Danto and Joan Simon

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This intriguing book examines the small woven and wrought works artist Sheila Hicks has produced for the past fifty years. With their distinctive colors, thoughtful compositions, and narrative, these miniature creations reveal the emergence and continuity of the artist’s approach to her work. Internationally recognized for her mastery of a textile vocabulary of extremely different scales—sculpture, tapestry, site specific commissions for public spaces, environments of recuperated clothing and uniforms, and more—Hicks has thoughtfully crafted miniatures throughout her nomadic career. The palm-sized works present a record of her remarkable and personal journeys.
Focusing on some one hundred miniatures from public and private collections, the book demonstrates the breadth of Hicks's concerns: her persistent inquiry into the mysteries of color, her playful yet reverential subversions of weaving traditions, her surprising range of materials, and her exploration of new technology. From initial experiments based on pre-Columbian weaving structures to a 2005 sculptural project using ninety colors of synthetic filaments, these small works offer a unique opportunity to access and examine the artist's conceptual and technical forays. The volume includes informative essays by Arthur C. Danto, Joan Simon, and Nina Stritzler-Levine as well as illustrations of the artist’s working tools, related drawings, photographs, and chronology.

Nina Stritzler-Levine, curator of the exhibition that accompanies this publication, is director of exhibitions and executive editor of exhibition catalogues at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture.


Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture (July 13 – October 8, 2006)

“With every fiber, Sheila Hicks is a book you must touch and hold, and one that will touch and hold you as well. Printed on a hefty, deckle-edged paper, the book provides readers with a unique tactile element.”—STEP Inside Design

"Photographs of Hicks' miniature tapestries help explain how her studies in color, technique and materials connect the fields of art, craft and design. The book contains essays, scans from Hicks' journal entries and almost 200 images. For lovers of fiber, this seminal book offers a finer deconstruction of a master's work."—American Style

“Named ‘Most Beautiful Book in the World’ at the Leipzig Book Fair. . . . its heroic and original design harks back to the glassine, fold-out, white space past, down to a matte white cover likely to be marred by the touch. [Irma] Boom, a present-day maestra of the auratic book, chose to represent Hicks’ work by making a book that feels like you are holding a fistful of it in your hand. Chunky and chalky, with a blind-embossed textile cover and the shaggiest deckle edges you have ever seen, Weaving as Metaphor turns heroic graphic design into an act of impersonation.” –Alexandra Lange, Curbed

Designer Irma Boom won the Gold Medal for the "Most Beautiful Book in the World" Prize given at the Leipzig Book Fair
ISBN: 9780300116854
Publication Date: September 15, 2006
Publishing Partner: Published in association with the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture
416 pages, 8.25 x 9.5
25 b/w + 100 color illus.
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