7th April – 25th September

In January, we selected Sheila Hicks as our textile hero and realised she would be having her first major UK retrospective at The Hepworth Wakefield. I am originally from Wakefield and finally joined The Hepworth as a Member earlier this year ( https://hepworthwakefield.org/membership/members) as I wanted to also see Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life) and the membership would nearly be covered by just those 2 exhibitions (especially with the café and shop discount!)

However, the storms in February put paid to any train travelling that I could do, so Barbara Hepworth slipped through my fingers, so when a lovely invite came through to a Members preview to Shelia Hicks Off Grid 6pm-8pm on a Wednesday night 270 miles away, I promptly RSVP’d yes!

I am so glad that I did, not only for the unexpected and brilliant opportunity to hear Shelia Hicks talk about the exhibition, but also to feel the buzz from everyone there about how the exhibition has been put together.

I wanted to sit and look – sometimes at how, but also just to look.

The large sculptural pieces dominate the exhibition space, but the walls hold a wonderful journey through the sippets of life that have been recorded in what are named ‘minimes’ weavings that she has made since 1957.

The working model for the commission at the Ford Foundation’s Modernist Foundation from 1967, is breathtaking. It makes me want to make sure that I’m so much more precise with any work I create. But then walking through the exhibition and coming across ‘Grand Boules’ from 2009 and the haphazard wrapping and layering, so maybe organised chaos is OK too! It was hard not to touch! Unlike our visit to Anni Alber, there were no sensors to set off, only our own sense of restraint to stop us from squishing!

Ripe Rip from 2019 a linen super scaled yarn wrapping, was so deeply wrapped the surface looked like you could bury yourself in the linen, and the colour – my photos certainly can’t do it justice, I did just stand and look at it for a long time.

Ripe Rip is installed next to Nowhere To Go, 2022 and is the most wonderful fun. No one dived in head first, but the mountainous pile of blues from the deepest Navy to the palest of sea blues certainly feels like that’s what it is challenging you to do

If you can swing a trip to Wakefield in, please do, The superlatives used to describe this exhibition really are not being overused.

The exhibition catalogue hadn’t been finalised in time for the opening, but I’m looking forward to getting a copy when I go back later in the summer with Louise as we are going to take The Loom Shed on tour again – if you fancy joining us, let us know.