00:00:03 My name’s Delia S, and I’m a Stained Glass Artist, and make panels for front doors, for restaurants, for churches, for a whole range of situations. I do a lot of repairs work as well, that’s quite a large body of my work, and something I specialise in.
00:00:26 The favourite part of my job is – I’m very keen on history and I love, you know, finding out how things were made in the past. So when I take an old panel apart, I look at how it was leaded, the glasses that were chosen, and you learn a lot from the way that things were constructed previously.
00:00:53 When I was at school, I didn’t really think very much about what I wanted to do. I followed an academic path, because that was a bit how it had gone in my family, but I was always more practical than academic. I always enjoyed making things, building things, and that kind of thing.
00:01:16 I’ve worked in a lot of offices. And I had quite a long career path to stained glass. I took a degree in Geography and History, and I followed a very academic route, but I was never really an academic person, I just thought that was where you made money, and that was how you’d earn an independent living. But it doesn’t always work like that in life, you can be doing a desk job and you can be desperately unhappy, and I saw many people that were desperately unhappy. It just seemed to me that, you know, arty stuff was great, but you couldn’t make a living from it. And it’s just really, over time, that I realised that it was something that I really wanted to do.
00:02:07 I’d been doing glass work as a hobby, and I just thought, well this is an area where a hobby becomes a trade, and there’s a sort of fine line between art and, you know, a proper trade. And stained glass is one of those weird kind of cross-over jobs, because it is very much a technical trade as well as an artistic one.
00:02:35 The moment which I’d say was a high point, which really was a turning point in my life, was when I was offered the trade of skills at a stained glass shop in London. And I walked through the door and I just saw everything there in the workshop, all the panels being made, it was a very busy commercial workshop, very pressurised, the jobs came in on a treadmill, they went out the door, you barely got a chance to look at them. And I just thought, this is a really exciting world to work in.
00:03:14 I have some regrets about how I came into this. I came into this quite late in life, I’m getting on a bit now, I’m sort of middle-aged, and you have to think about – it’s a trade where you need to be very fit, so I would have had a longer working career if I’d come to it earlier. And I wish really that I’d had better careers advice at an earlier stage. I wish there’d been more encouragement for girls to do more physical, practical trades. You know even for boys that they weren’t seen as, you know ,a kind of a thick alternative to academic routes.