She studied painting at Yale University (1954-1959) with Joseph Albers, Rico Lebrun, George Kubler and Herbert Mather. She received a Fubright grant and moved to Chile, where she painted from 1957 to 1958 and began to develop an interest in textiles.
She photographed the archaeological sites of the Andes and traveled to the volcanic region of Villarica, the island of Chiloé and Tierra del Fuego.
In 1959, Professor Henri Peyre at Yale University awarded her a scholarship to study in France. There she met the ethnologist Raoul D’Harcourt, a specialist in pre-Columbian textiles.
She also makes what she calls “ropes” and attaches them to woven backgrounds; when she lets them hang freely, or when she assembles skeins, she creates three-dimensional objects with threads.
Sheila Hicks, in her studio tucked away in a passageway in the heart of the Latin Quarter in Paris, leads a small team focused on making the pieces, often destined for architectural integrations around the world, including the impressive Theater Curtain at the Kiryu Cultural Center in Gumna, Japan in 2001.