Sheila Waters at Eighty – A Retrospective

Sheila Water's workThis wonderful 50-page book was published when Sheila Waters was eighty, and encapsulates the incredible range and amazing creativity of her work. As written by her son Julian in the introduction: ‘Much more than a catalogue, this is the story of an artist, a part of family history and a snapshot in the timeline of the modern history of art and design’.

Perhaps Sheila is best known for the intricate designs and patterns with pure black Roman Capitals such as that on the right. These were developed by her for the title page of the book she created using the text of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood.

Sheila Waters artworkThis led directly to the Roundel of the Seasons, which took Sheila over one thousand hours of concentrated work. Although she almost gave up on this piece when the central portion and the surrounding flowers were too dense (see right), encouraged by her husband Peter, the renowned book binder, she scraped out several weeks of work and replaced this section with calligraphy. Such a brave move!

 

Sheila-WatersBut this Retrospective does not rest there. It also includes Sheila’s later work, and some of the spontaneous pieces she has done for her granddaughters.

As well as this there are examples of Sheila’s maps and the collaborative work she did with her husband, Peter Waters, designing for the books he bound. And so much more …

The book is simply beautiful – set in a typeface specially designed for this by her son Julian, and based on the modernised Caroline minuscule she developed and used in her Under Milk Wood – the whole publication is just a joy. I cannot recommend it more highly.

I am selling copies of this book in the UK at £20 + £3 p+p. Please e-mail me here to find out details of where to send your cheque or make a bank transfer, and to give me your name and address. Apologies that you need to make another click (!), but I am a bit wary of putting up my home address and e-mail on an open website. It really is worth making the effort to get your own copy, they should be on every calligrapher’s and designer’s bookshelf – after having been read of course!