Journalist and art critic, Ann-Marie Gedda writes in Sheila's catalog;

Dear Sheila,

One day in early 1970ies, I was standing in front of one of your works of art, for the first time. I remember my amazement. Could textile art really be done like that?

It was a large, irregular sheet, woven in coarse, natural-coloured yarns, and with openings like black gaping mouths; it was wild, suggestive, and inviting, like a magic formula.

It must have been at about the same time that I - as a journalist - visited your home in order to write an article on your work. You and your family lived in a small house at the outskirts of the town Nyköping.

Your home was as exciting as your art works. In large piles, there was wool from many exotic animals. Why, the Zoo of Kolmården (the largest Zoo in Sweden) was just ten kilometers from your home, and they were busy delivering all sorts of wool to you! In addition, your home was filled with sculptures under work; various pieces woven, knitted, in crochet, plaited... In the loom, there was a new composition: inserted wool in dark natural colours; stone and wood associating to myth and virgin forest. On the spinning wheel, you developed yarns, as knotty and coarse as you wanted them to be.

In the generation of young, Nordic textile artists that rushed forward in the 1960ies, you were - as I understand it - one of the first to stress the structure, the fibers, and the associative effect of the material, in your metaphorical language. Your creations - which madee us think of sacrificial animals and witches and dangers and pictures that fired the imagination, soon started to walk into exhibitions in the Nordic countries, in Europe, and also in Africa, the United States and Canada.

You appeared to be able to use sources of poetic power and sensibility.

You managed to deepen and condense the expression in your suggestive compositions, while you, at the same time, started to weave tapestries of another mood ; was it the nearness to the sea and the archipelago of the Baltic, when you moved to the town of Trosa, that inspired you to that long line of public decorations, with their light, graphical reflections of rocks, water, sun and shadows? From the dark and the mysterious, you took the step towards a new theme, fresher and brighter in colour, but no less enigmatic: the rocky formations in the archipelago, and the shimmering currents over the bottom stones. It could perhaps be asked, whether your works are abstract or figurative compositions - but the answe would be of secondary importance. The boulders or craps that form the background to the shadow-play of your weavings constitute a conscious and austere design language, which has the same suggestive power as your dark enchanted webs.

How does an artist choose the direction? External influence, and an internal pressure to express oneself in pictures and materials? I believe that you, at an early stage , were aware as to how your language would be formed out of your childhood's experiences, in Österbotten: nearthe forest, the trees, the stones and the soft green moss. It was here, during walks through the forest with your Grandfather, or in the kitchen near your Grandmother, when she sat at the spinning-wheel and produced, as if by magic, the thread from the wool - it was that you developed your yearning for creating, and telling stories, in textile.

Who knows - maybe you are a bit of a witch yourself, the girl from Österbotten, who consistently and consciously has widened her pictorial language to an ever her artistic expression - while keeping all her sensibility and subtlety.

Anne-Marie Gedda

Journalist and Art Critic, Spring 1988