An Animated Evening

Nearly every month I take my Mum to the meeting of her Inner Wheel group. I always enjoy going but this week’s meeting was especially good

The guest speaker was artist and animator, Sheila Graber. I remember Sheila from a long time ago: she taught art when I was at school. She was a very popular teacher and ran after-school groups, including an Animation Club for pupils – we were sometimes shown the group’s films as well as Sheila’s work at the end of term. Eventually, she left teaching to work on her animation full-time

On Thursday night we were treated a compilation of some of these animations. The River Tyne featured strongly in Sheila’s work (she was born and brought up on Tyneside).

Image from The Tyne by Sheila Graber

My favourite was a charming film about a little boy playing with his cat in the snow (Sheila explained how this was inspired by her own cat). Other animals featured too: she made animated versions of Kipling’s Just-So Stories.

Image from “The Elephant’s Child” film by Sheila Graber (part of series: The just So Stories)

At the end of the evening my Mum bought me a copy of Sheila’s Book, My Tyneside, which she signed for me. We chatted and amazingly she remembered me from school. It was fun to remember some of my old teachers from back then.

Since the other night, I’ve read the book, which includes a load of Sheila’s pictures of my home town, South Shields. I’ve also been looking at her website and Youtube channel, where I found a film of an old school sports day. She’s done some amazing stuff and I’m hoping to get to an exhibition of her work that’s coming up later this year at The Customs House, South Shields.

Are there any inspirational teachers that you remember from your schooldays?