Modernizing Carolingian & Uncials — Sheila Waters

Sheila Waters
2.5 days
All levels except raw beginners
No materials fee

Instructor Bio
Sheila Waters was the founding president of the Washington Calligraphers Guild in 1976. She graduated from the Medway College of Art in Kent, England, in 1948, studied under Dorothy Mahoney (assistant to the great pioneer of modern calligraphy, Edward Johnston) at the Royal College of Art, London, gaining her masters degree and Fellowship of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators in 1951, aged 22. Her career was devoted to commissions for publishers, museums, libraries, collectors, and royalty while raising three sons. In 1971, the family immigrated to the US for her husband, Peter Waters, to head the Conservation Department of the Library of Congress. A gifted teacher, Sheila shares her extensive knowledge and techniques with calligraphers the world over. Since 1955, her work has been included in many of the important books on calligraphy. Her textbook, Foundations of Calligraphy, published by John Neal Bookseller in 2006 and reprinted in 2008 and 2014, Retrospective in 2012, and Waters Rising: Letters from Florence, published by The Legacy Press in 2016. Her most well-known works are her illustrated manuscript of Dylan Thomas’s play, Under Milk Wood, and her panel, Roundel of the Seasons.

Class Description
After studying various examples of 9th century Carolingian writing with magnifying glasses, including actual-size photographs of a manuscript owned by the Getty museum, students will change archaic elements and modernize from historical sources for themselves, thus learning the underlying principles of modernizing any historical style. After trying Sheila’s version of Carolingian that she developed in the 1960’s for a commissioned text of an illustrated manuscript of Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas, the class will review and work on suitable Uncial-based capitals to match with the minuscules. This study will culminate in designing a piece in Carolingian, at least to the stage of a final draft.

Supply List
• Smooth practice paper
• Non-bleeding, non-waterproof ink
• Selection of gouache
• Variety of broad-edged nib sizes from wide to narrow with reservoirs
• Straight-barreled pen holders
• Drawing board or portable desk
• Sharp soft and hard pencils
• Ruler
• Magnifying glass
• “Good” paper for a project