1. ITV Report

County Durham woman realises dream of becoming an artist

Dawn Booth-Wilson with her artwork Credit: Stride PR/Business Durham

A former Inland Revenue officer has opened a new studio and gallery after pursuing her dream of becoming an artist.

Dawn Booth-Wilson, gave up her office job to try a more creative career.

After running her own curtain and blind making business, she did an art and design access course at Middlesbrough College and a degree in fine art at Teesside University.

Dawn, who is from Hamsterley in County Durham, initially focused on large scale, colourful monotype prints – work made by painting onto glass, or metal plates before being printed on an etching press – but the death of her father saw her work take a new direction.

She now has her own new studio and gallery at the Durham Dales Centre, in Stanhope, Weardale, which is run by Business Durham.

While at the Dales centre, Dawn is being helped by the free enterprise programme, Durham Creatives, which has supported more than 90 creative start-up businesses in County Durham.

The Durham Creatives workshops will run until October at the Dales Centre and include:

  • Business Planning
  • Health Wellbeing and Enterprise
  • The Art of Selling; Protecting Your Business Ideas
  • Finance – Understanding the Essentials
  • Food, Drink and Enterprise
  • Selling Overseas Online.

“I got my sketch book out and I started to doodle and suddenly these little people came. It wasn’t a deliberate or conscious thing to create them, they just appeared, then I started to develop them into works of art,” said Dawn, originally from South Tyneside.

“The fine art course was a huge learning experience and it makes you look into yourself. The illustrative quality is perhaps a nod to my love of children’s story books and an obsession with reading and drawing which surfaced at an early age. I think what makes them charming is the colour and humour and fun.”

– Dawn Booth-Wilson
Dawn's shop in Weardale Credit: Stride PR/ Business Durham

“The Durham Creatives programme has proved phenomenally successful at helping creative people take their hobbies and ideas and turn them into flourishing businesses.

“We’re keen to make the Durham Dales Centre a place for enterprise, rather than simply a venue, which is why it’s a great place for people to be inspired by the Durham Creatives workshops.”

– Sarah Slaven, business development director with Business Durham