Sheila Hicks’ Quarry Spider (2003) is an artistic achievement in color, structure and technique. The small weaving, measuring only 9 ¼” x 5 7/8”, is one of almost 1,000 works included in her series Miniatures – an enduring project that began over 50 years ago. Each was created on a small loom constructed from painter’s stretcher bars, and made a practical and portable companion throughout her travels to locales such as India, Mexico, France, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.
In Quarry Spider, she thoughtfully inserts soft white hand-made Japanese rice paper between green warp threads, and delicately weaves sinuous whispers of blue, yellow, green and orange. The piece has four complete selvages (finished ends of fabric), and like her other minimes is an artistic investigation of a particular time and place. Each work is influenced by the diverse range of local traditions and cultural processes, and allows Hicks to explore the inherent characteristics of different materials and the rich dimensionality of color and form.
Jacqueline Sullivan is a graduate student in the History of Decorative Arts and Design program at the Cooper Hewitt. She is currently a Master’s Fellow in the Textiles Department.