- MS 379/OH/95
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
00:00 - 02:45
She was born in 16/01/1951. She studied textiles at Duncan of Jordanstone starting in September 1968. Her mother was a knitwear designer and always had something on the go at home. Therefore Sheila was always using fabric from a young age, eg creating dresses for dollies. She went to Grove Academy in Broughty Ferry. When she started university she always knew that she would one day go into teaching.
02:45 - 03:46
She only ever considered going to DJCAD. People did not travel as much as they did back then it was not as easy to get funding. She was reliant on her parents still for financial support.
03:46 - 07:24
There was a two year general course before specialising. She always wanted to do printed textiles and embroidery but the general course forced her to do other things which she thinks was a good idea. She did things such as graphics, photography and sculpture. The tutors were mostly painters but they were all fantastic.
07:24 - 12:38
Her textiles teacher was Willie Watt who she describes as a very flamboyant character. His classes were great fun and they always had a laugh. Her embroidery teacher was Marion Stewart. She was a very strong character and was quite strict. Marion had been to Glasgow School of Art and taught at Aberdeen before coming to Dundee.
12:38 - 17:09
Needlework Development Scheme Collection (NDS Collection): She was aware of the collection but it was not brought out very often.
17:09 - 21:14
She remembers being influenced by Joseph ?'s book called [Book about Colour]? It was a book full of palates of different colours which could be taken out. She was also influenced by Bauhaus. She was also influenced by people such as Roy Guild, Bob Green and Ian Fern.
21:14 - 25:35
She remembers Roy Guild who always wore a white lab coat type thing and did lots of work with stained glass. She also remembers Bob Miller Smith who was a graphics tutor but later became principal. He was very open and approachable.
25:35 - 26:28
Chester Matthews was the principal at the time but they did not have any interaction with him.
26:28 - 28:58
One other student did embroidery but there were eight textile students in her year all of whom were girls. Three of them are still in Dundee and one of them now lives in Norway. This student married a Norwegian architect and consciously came to Dundee rather than Glasgow School of Art because her last name was Honeyman, the granddaughter of Tom Honeyman. There was also a mature student in her year from Elgin who had been a radiographer.
28:58 - 33:37
Students mixed together a lot even after you had chosen your specialism. The student canteen was a real hub. There was a Canteen Queen award for first year girls. There was also the Revels at Christmas time. They were always fancy dress and had a different them. Her final year had a cowboys and Indians theme which included a jail and a stagecoach. You got to know everyone . The college was much smaller. In her first year she remembers Pink Floyd performing at the college.
33:37 - 35:33
She stayed at home during her time as a student.
35:33 - 39:19
There was a huge pressure in the lead up to the show. They were given a project to do by Marion and had six weeks to do it. They also had to design a stitch panel for the newly built DUSA building at the time. She repeated her second year. She failed a bit of coursework. She was one of about twenty or thirty students who failed that year.
39:19 - 44:05
Many of the students at the time went on to do teaching after art college. There were very few other options, especially for those who had done textiles.
44:05 - 45:30
She remembers the old Overgate being built.
45:30 - 49:33
In her third year she went on a trip to Amsterdam. This involved getting a bus followed by a ferry. They were taken to the Van Gogh museum and the Reiches Museum where they saw work by Vermeer. While there one of her friends went to Utrechtwhere they found the Schröder House.
49:33 - 53:48
She did her teacher training in Aberdeen. She hated it at first and considered leaving after the first term. Her second placement however was to Fraserburgh Academy and she loved it. Her first job after finishing her training was at Banchory Academy where she taught general Art and Design.
53:48 - 01:01:00
She and former students of Marion Stewart formed the embroidery group Embryo in 1980. They formed the group so that they would always be able to produce work and hold exhibitions. At the time of forming the group they realised that often real life can get in the way of creating artwork. They had a full committee and put on exhibitions every eighteen months in places all over Scotland and in different parts of the UK. Around the time of the millennium they teamed up with groups from Edinburgh and Glasgow to form EDGE.
01:01:00 - 01:11:39
In the early 1990s she worked part-time at Dundee College. She then however got into behavioural support. The pupils she worked with were mostly boys and very disadvantaged. Connect 5.