Weaving as Metaphor is a gorgeous book. Besides the fact that the content – a number of Sheila Hicks’ small works, most of which are weavings – is visually stunning, the format is very enticing. Like the weavings themselves, it is very textural. The cover is white, with a weaving in relief, and the pages are cut jaggedly, as if with a saw. Each page spread has a beautiful photograph of the work on the right. On the left are the title, the location in which it was made, notes about the technique, media, size and the collection to which it belongs. Most works are also accompanied by a few notes on Hicks’ thought process while she was making it.

weaving as metaphor(My copy arrived unfortunately smudged, so I am borrowing this photo from here. It gives a better idea of the texture than the professional images I found).

Weaving as Metaphor highlights the sort of work by major artists (in this case, Hicks) that usually appeals to me the most. They are not grand works, compared with her more well known pieces, but instead are experiments with technique, color, form, etc. They are maquettes and sketches that show progress and ideas. Looking at them always gives me the itch to start making.

I had the opportunity to visit Sheila Hicks in her studio in Paris a few years ago. She is a very insightful and inspiring woman, and one whose mark on textiles in art cannot be underestimated. In light of that, and the awe that I feel towards her work, it seems a little surreal that after talking to us in her studio, Ms. Hicks led us around her neighborhood to some of her favorite spots, ending with lunch in her favorite cafe.

A few things she said have stuck in my mind more than the rest, so I want to share them. Learn to measure things accurately by sight. Sometimes the person who will matter the most in your life will be (or begin as) a total stranger. Watch the way children respond to your work because their curiosity is authentic. Also, in my notes from that visit I wrote this down as a quote, “it is so important to make every day. The discovery comes in the making.” (I’m trying.)

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