A few words from stained-glass artist & College Programmes Coordinator, David Lilly

I only wish SML had been around when I was at school…. Those were my first thoughts
after I had read the job advert and watched the YouTube video.

Being colour-blind I had been told in no uncertain terms that pursuing a career in the arts
was a complete waste of time for me. Even though I loved (and still do) making ‘stuff’ and
drawing and painting abstracts in oils I was not going to become at artist – according to my

So, many, many years later (and with some glee) I defied my teachers and became a
stained-glass artist and carried on being one for 12 years. During that time, I also did
something else that school never thought I was capable of…. I went to university. Six years
into being a professional artist I decided to go to uni at Brighton and do a full time BA in 3D
Design and Craft to enhance the making skills I had and learn to become a better artist.
What I did not expect to find there was a love of learning. I had only ever been a passably
good school child attaining C grades in most subjects. I was Mr Just-Below-Average because
I enjoyed so little of it. Uni was a totally different experience, and let’s be honest, I was a fair
few decades older as well. One thing I excelled at while at Uni was helping others with their
learning as they were learning the same things that I was interested in. Yes, I had years of
experience under-my-belt which helped but I had not expected to get such a sense of
satisfaction from being in that environment. In fact I enjoyed it so much I stayed on and did
an MA in Sustainable Design part-time. During that time I decided that I would dearly like to
find an opportunity to lecture or tutor part-time. Lecturing at Brigton or Sussex was out as
they required all new lecturers to have PHd’s – something I was not interested in at all, so
what to do?

I decided to list myself on Indeed and get some feeds from them and The Guardian to see
what was out there that might interest me ,and be fairly locally based. You can imagine my
surprise when the advert for this job crossed my path. Now, I was not looking for a total
change of career, I did and still do love stained glass and the other material I work with
(currently coppersmithing), but this position at SML seemed tailor-made for my skills of
running a ‘business’ and having the opportunity of helping people who wanted to learn and
in particularly those subjects that excite me. So about 6 weeks after sending in my initial
enquiry I was offered the position and have been loving the ups, downs, sideways,
backwards and forwards of it since the middle of January.

This term I have two Learning Groups who I advise, and have spare time away from the
admin and operational duties to be able to offer workshops and 1-2-1s with students who
are loving art and craft. So, thanks SML for being the newest paviour on my path of selfdiscovery.


David Lilly

College Programmes Coordinator, SML College