Waters, Sheila 1929


Sheila Waters was born in Gravesend, England on March 13, 1929. She graduated from the Medway College of Art, Kent in 1948 with a Diploma of Design, and received an associate's degree from the Royal College of Art in London in 1951. There she developed her calligraphic skills under the tutelage of Dorothy Mahoney, assistant to the calligrapher Edward Johnston).

At twenty-two, Waters was elected a fellow of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators. A gifted teacher, Waters has shared her extensive knowledge and techniques with calligraphers in innumerable workshops in North America and Europe She inaugurated the program of calligraphy courses at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. and later developed her own private classes and annual workshops. Waters was the first President and founding member of the Washington Calligraphers Guild.

Waters was married to bookbinder and conservator Peter Waters from 1953 until his death in 2003. She and her husband had three sons: Julian Waters, a leading lettering designer and typographer, who was also protegé of the legendary German type designer Hermann Zapf; Michael Waters, inventor of an automated boxmaking machine for phase boxes and Chris Waters, an entrepreneur.

Waters' work is included in many of the important books which have been published about calligraphy after 1950. Between 1961 and 1978, Waters hand-lettered and illustrated an illuminated manuscript of Dylan Thomas' 'Under Milk Wood', which was released in 1979. She is the author of 'Foundations of Calligraphy', published in 2006 and her 2016 book 'Waters Rising: Letters from Florence' documented her husband's efforts to save hundreds of thousands of books damaged in the 1966 Florence flood.[