Sheila Waters

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Sheila Waters (born 1929) is a calligrapher and teacher. She was born in Gravesend, England and graduated from the Medway College of Art in Kent and at the Royal College of Art in London. There she developed her calligraphic skills under the tutelage of Dorothy Mahoney (assistant to the great pioneer of calligraphy, Edward Johnston).

At twenty-two, Waters was elected a Fellow of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators and began a career devoted to commissions for royalty, museums, libraries, collectors and publishers.

A gifted teacher, Waters has shared her extensive knowledge and techniques with calligraphers in innumerable workshops in North America and Europe.[citation needed] She inaugurated the program of calligraphy courses at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. and later developed her own private classes and annual workshops. She travels extensively, lecturing and teaching workshops for every major calligraphy society in North America between 1972 and 2007.

The first President and founding member of the Washington Calligraphers Guild, Sheila was included in the 1981 World Who's Who of Women. Her work is included in many of the important books which have been published about calligraphy after 1950.[citation needed] She is the author of Foundations of Calligraphy, published in 2006. This book quickly established itself as one of the classic instructional works on the subject.[citation needed] Waters was married to bookbinder, library conservator Peter Waters from 1953 until his death in 2003.

Sheila's sons include Julian Waters (calligrapher), a leading lettering designer and typographer, who was also a protégé of the legendary German type designer Hermann Zapf; Michael Waters, inventor of an automated boxmaking machine for phase boxes;[1] and Chris Waters, owner of Multimedia Solutions.



  • Thomas, Dylan; Under Milk Wood, A Play for Voices, A Reproduction of the Illuminated Manuscript by Sheila Waters. Forward by Heather Child. International Letter Arts Network, Santa Ana, California 1989.
  • Waters, Sheila; Foundations of Calligraphy, Foreword by Rose Folsom. John Neal Books, Greensboro, North Carolina, 2006.