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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

Where art and massage meet

ULVERSTON’S distinctive character and market-town charm are its greatest selling points, according to holistic therapist, Hayley Dawn.

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ARTFUL: Hayley Dawn in her studio CHRIS WARNER REF: 50038391B003

The 28-year-old moved her business to Ulverston from Penrith after becoming disillusioned with the Cumberland town’s loss of identity.

“It’s quite rare to have a town which is proud of its small businesses,” says Hayley.

“Every shop is different, it’s unique.

“It’s not a mass-market town like Penrith is becoming. Penrith was quite unique and now big corporations are coming in.

“The fact that Ulverston is proud and doesn’t want to involve these big, mass-markets, I thought this could be a place my business could work.”

Originally from Askham, near Ullswater, Hayley and her partner Andrew Murray opened Hayley Dawn, in Upper Brook Street, last December. The former hairdresser’s was given an Arts and Crafts “make-under”, with stripped back walls and floors, to create a client therapy area and a gallery.

Artist-in-residence, Lee Payne’s landscapes hang on the walls and the ceramics, knits, bags and cushions are artfully arranged around the gallery’s furniture.

“It’s nice, charming and quaint,” says Hayley, who now lives in Ulverston.

“It suits the Arts and Crafts feel.”

Hayley began her career in art and design before training in Swedish massage, hot stone therapy, Indian head massage, holistic facials and Reiki. Pregnancy massage is also on offer.

Things are certainly on the up for Hayley.

A fire in the gallery earlier this year posed a serious setback but she dug her heels in, working evenings and weekends to recoup her losses.

The work paid dividends – so much so that at the end of this month Hayley Dawn is moving further up Upper Brook Street, to the premises vacated by DC Cycles.

It will mean Hayley Dawn will have its first shop front in Ulverston, which she can’t wait to dress, and better promote her artists in residence.

“We’re getting involved with more local artists. In the new shop we’re having two photographers,” she says.

Hayley receives 30 per cent commission on sales in exchange for shop space.

“It’s all about giving local artists the opportunity to exhibit their work,” Hayley adds. “I want to promote local artists and show people this is what we’ve got on our doorstep.”

Current work on show includes knits by Katy Mellor, from Bardsea, prints by Barbara Cropper, from Windermere, and ceramics by Liz Collinson, from Morecambe.

The first weekend in December is Hayley Dawn’s first anniversary, which will be celebrated with a party and an exhibition of festive crafts.

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