Artist Profile - Jean Hicks
Jean Hicks’ distinctive felt hats blend sculpture and fashion in a way few artists can pull off. Her unique perspective comes from over two decades of experience, work and travel. As a maker, she studied classical millinery under Wayne Wichern. But her sculptural perspective on felt has also been influenced by work in ceramics, especially her studies at the Escuela de Artes y Applicadas de Deseños in Vittoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Her work is held in numerous private and museum collections and she holds degrees in history, Spanish and education.
Jean has been invited to teach a hat making class in Tartu, Estonia, funded by the fiber program at University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy. She plans to travel to Tallinn, then to Tartu, teach and lecture to their graduate students, then travel to St. Petersburg, Russia to view ancient felts at the Hermitage Museum. She will use funding from her 2011 GAP to travel from Seattle to Helsinki, Helsinki to Tallinn, Tallinn to Tartu, Tartu to St. Petersburg. She will be paying for a travel visa to visit St. Petersburg. She will also purchase wool and other materials to make work while in Estonia.
As part of her Fellowship’s Meet the Artist requirements, Jean visited Casa Latina’s Grupo de Mujeres and gave two felt-making workshops. Casa Latina is a non-profit organization servicing the Spanish-speaking migrant population in the greater Seattle area. During two classes in Seattle and Burien, Jean talked about and showed her work to the group, made up of women from Mexico, Guatemala and Venezuela. They learned to felt beads, bracelets and flowers, and some women, in turn, taught their children to make felt. Jean also answered questions about marketing and materials. After class in Burien, Jean, her son and her assistant were invited to join the group for dinner. The group also requested Jean to return in May to teach a mother/child felt-making class.