Personal Introduction of Sheila Waters
Opening Reception at Strathmore Mansion (7/23/09)
By Theresa Daly, President, Washington Calligraphers Guild
|At the opening reception on July 23, 2009, Sheila Waters was introduced by Washington Calligraphers Guild President Theresa Daly (left).
The woman whose art we celebrate today is a living treasure in the community of calligraphers and lettering artists, both here and abroad. Sheila Waters was born in England 80 years ago, into a family that encouraged her love of drawing. Her artistic talent won her admission to the Medway College of Art at age 16 and then the Royal College of Art at age 19, where she specialized in calligraphy within a demanding art and design curriculum. There she met her future husband, the late Peter Waters, a brilliant student of bookbinding and lettering, with whom she shared a wonderfully creative partnership in marriage and in work.
At age 22, Sheila was elected one of the youngest fellows of the prestigious Society of Scribes and Illuminators in London—a distinction that in no way tempted her to rest on her laurels. To this day she continues to work and teach, traveling across the country and even across the Atlantic offering workshops and master classes, and generously sharing her talents with her students—some of whom travel here from the Pacific Rim, Australia, Europe and Africa to study with her.
In 1976 she became the founding president of the Washington Calligraphers Guild which today has an international membership of over 500 lovers of calligraphy and the lettering arts.
Many highlights from Sheila’s long career are displayed in this exhibition:
- Her famous manuscript commission, Under Milk Wood
- The intricate Roundel of the Seasons, a tour-de-force of calligraphy, color selection, miniature painting and design—considered by many to be her masterpiece
- One of my personal favorites, Tor House, in which each line of Sheila’s calligraphy visually embodies the changing emotions of the words of poet Robinson Jeffers
- And we can’t omit her groundbreaking textbook Foundations of Calligraphy, published in 2006 and already recognized as a modern classic
Her achievements go beyond her calligraphic work and include her exceptional gifts as a teacher with a most generous heart. She is demanding, but she draws from you every ounce of excellence that she can. Sheila does more than merely teach you how to write—she teaches you how to truly see your work, how to analyze it yourself so that you can constantly improve. It is a joy to study with her. I am proud to call her my teacher, my mentor, my friend: Sheila Waters.