Press Release

Release Date: March 28, 2018

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office



  • Heather Hilliard is a Norman-based artist with many exhibits and book publications under her belt. In her second class offered out of Sulphur’s Mahota Studios, she will be teaching the ancient technique of using indigo dye with a clay resist.

SULPHUR, Okla. -- The Chickasaw Nation, in association with Mahota Studios, will host a class on dyeing cloth with natural materials taught by Norman-based artist Heather Clark Hilliard.

Hilliard’s artistic work has been shown in dozens of regional and national exhibitions in 10 states. Her written work has been published several times in “Art Focus” magazine and in “Surface Design Journal.”

The class is scheduled 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, March 31, at the ARTesian Gallery & Studios, 100 W. Muskogee St.

Students will learn to use natural indigo to produce shades of blue on cotton. They will also use clay as a resist, creating patterns by preventing dye from reaching portions of the cloth.

Mahota Studios is offered out of the ARTesian Gallery and Studios by Chickasaw textile weaver and fashion designer Margaret Roach Wheeler. She was inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2010. Her studio is dedicated to weavers and gives them a place to gather and create handwoven pieces ranging from apparel to home decor.

The class is a result of a connection between Wheeler and Hilliard. They met during a fiber exhibit in Joplin, Missouri, and kept in touch through the years.

“I was impressed with her work,” Wheeler said, remembering a class Hilliard led. “We were working with dyes, and Heather had a chemical knowledge of the reactions with the dyes and fibers. I was so impressed, I knew I wanted to have her back.”

Wheeler said she ties her work to her ancestry, embracing techniques used by ancient Chickasaws. This is part of what struck her about Hilliard’s work.

“This time, she’s teaching indigo, which is an all-inclusive, ancient die. She’s going to use a clay resist. When I saw her clay resist, I thought that’s what we would have done and we did use indigo dyes,” Wheeler said.

The class is open to the public and will cost $100, which includes materials and instruction. All skill levels are welcome. Registration is encouraged as class size is limited to eight students.

Hilliard said there will be inspiring resources provided to get the creative juices flowing, but students can come with their own design ideas. She expects the class to be fun, but messy. Students should wear old clothing and shoes, Hilliard advised.

To reserve a seat or for more information, contact the Artesian Gallery & Studios, 580-622-8040.

Last Updated: 09/16/2016