Sew & Tell: Kyra Hicks, An African American Quilter

Kyra's Quilts...

Kyra with her brother (Wayne) and niece (Laura)Kyra is the third child of four. She studied marketing at Howard University and University of Michigan (MBA). She spent a magical year at the London School of Economics - mostly ditching classes and wandering streets with a camera and A-Z map! Luckily it didn't effect her future like it might for someone studying for an online MBA or some other online degrees.

 Kyra became interested in quilting while viewing the historic exhibit of Eva Ungar Grudin called, "Stitching Memories: African American Story Quilts" in 1991 at the Taft Museum.

"I remember knowing at that moment that I wanted to tell stories using fabric. I wanted to be on the walls with these women."

None of Kyra's relatives quilted - but one could find a sewing and creative tradition at home. Dad used an old black Singer machine to make upholstered covers. He also taught us to use single-lens and 8mm cameras. Mom taught the girls - Kyra and Iyisa - to crochet and make hook rugs.

You can tell one of Kyra's quilts. She uses words to complement the design. This quilt was inspired by a 1995 visit with artist Emma Amos, who after reviewing Kyra's slides, encouraged her to continue creating. She said the work was "intelligent. " PHOTO NOTE: "Boxes #2", © 1995 Kyra E. Hicks, 72"x80", photo by David Smalls]

Quilts and Family...

Aunt Alzeda...92-years young! At our last Crockett/Hacker family reunion, the spirit of our oldest relative was immortalized in a quilt entitled, Aunt Alzeda's Sunday Concerts(© 1996 Kyra E. Hicks 88" x 70", photo by David Smalls.)

Aunt Alzeda was born in 1907 and graduated from Fisk University. She taught at Bethune Cookman College. In fact, Mary McLeod Bethune introduced the young Aunt Alzeda to her future husband. Zora Neale Hurston was a witness at their 1934 wedding! Read the marvelous letter that Aunt Alzeda wrote to Kyra about the quilt.

On Display...

 Would You Consider Another Tribe?Spirits of the Cloth: Contemporary Quilts by African American Artists is an exhibit at Harn Museum in Gainesville, FL until May 31, 2001. The African American quilting tradition dates back to the colonial period, when enslaved Africans brought textile skills, such as appliqué, piecing and embroidery, to this country. A rich legacy of art and culture developed in the United States, culminating in a virtual renaissance of African American quilting in the past two decades. This exhibition features more than 50 quilts by America's leading African American quilters...including Kyra Hicks. PHOTO NOTE: "Would You Consider Another Tribe? #2", © 1999 Kyra Hicks]

...Email Kyra!

If you have information that you would like to share like news about your quilt group, your own quilting - or if you would like to link with this site...please email Kyra Hicks! We're always looking for feedback. We hope you enjoy your visit today!

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Quilters & Cloth Artists!Our goal is to provide you with a sampling of information about African American Quilting activities nationally - what's new, who's doing it, and where!

From time to time, we'll also provide you with updates on other cloth arts - like doll making, sequin flags and other textile arts as related to people of color.

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