Sheila, resident at Speedwell Court, runs her own regular art class for her fellow residents and members of the public. From an early age, Art was Sheila's main interest, especially drawing and later pottery. In this blog, we reflect on Sheila's wonderful life, filled with artistry!


When I was offered the chance to start an art class at Speedwell Court I jumped at it. I like passing on my knowledge to other people.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     – Sheila, Resident at Speedwell Court Dementia Friendly Care Home


Sheila said,

“It’s early days still. We meet every week but we’ve only recently begun, and most of my students are at the stage where they are just drawing or painting for the first time. They are just beginning to find their inner artist and discover their talent. Eventually I’d love to give them the chance to exhibit their work, once it’s of a good standard – maybe GCSE standard. I think they will be capable eventually, but there’s a long way to go.

When I was offered the chance to start an art class at Speedwell Court I jumped at it. I like passing on my knowledge to other people. I initially started as a painter and a potter, which I studied at college, where I achieved my National Diploma in Design. I then went on to gain my Art Teacher Certificate with Honours. My first teaching job was in pottery, which I did for 10 years.

I’m most proud of my time as a jeweller. I mainly self-taught myself the basics of silversmithing and enamelling, before I found some classes, after which I was able to turn professional. I had my own company, Shiela Holness Jewellery, for nearly 50 years, mainly working with silver and nine carat gold which I made into neckalces, bracelets, rings and so on. Each of my designs was personalised to suit the buyer. I’m also fortunate to have been a member of the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen for over 25 years, and the Somerset Guild for a further 20 years.

The class at Speedwell Court is going well with about five or six regulars, but I’d love to see more people there. Everyone is welcome, whether they’re a resident or not, and we meet every Monday afternoon, 3 till 4:30pm. Hobbycraft have been very kind to us, donating most of the materials we use, so I’d like to introduce new art forms as the class progresses.”


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