A MUM has turned her talents into a new career after a condition brought on during pregnancy forced her to leave her carer job.
Lianne Dowson had devoted her working life to looking after others, but had to give up the role after developing symphis pubis dysfunction (SPD) when she was due to give birth to her son Nikolas Watt, now three.
The painful symptoms, which affect the pelvis, usually end when a child is born, but Lianne’s discomfort has continued.
The 37-year-old, who is also mum to Anja Dowson, 15, and Reece Dowson, 17, has launched her own business, Jewels by Nikolas, after she spotted a sign offering the lease on the former Courtyard Gallery behind South Crescent, Seaham.
Lianne, who is being supported by her partner Michael Watt, 47, and a host of family and friends, is selling jewellery she has made herself, including pieces made with precious stones and silver, beads, engraved tankards and decorated emu egg.
Pieces of smoothed glass, collected on Seaham’s coast after fragments were tipped into the sea by a nearby bottle factory in the 19th century, will also be used in future.
Lianne, who lives in Dawdon, said: “When I had health problems when I had my son, I started doing it as a hobby and people were interested in buying it, so I took the plunge and decided to make it into a business.
“It’s taken about six weeks to bring together.”
Lianne added: “I was looking at empty shops and just out of curiosity I asked how much the rent was on this place and took it from there.”
With the help of advisers at Seaham Jobcentre and efforts to get it into shape around the clock, the shop opened on time as planned.
“My stomach’s stopped turning now and I was able to sleep knowing everything was in place,” Lianne said.
“Now we’re just waiting for people to come and find us.”
The shop will also stock gifts and items of steam punk jewellery, which is inspired by Victorian imagery and technology with science fiction, and made by David Gibson, 25, from Jarrow, who is another jeweller looking to turn his skill into a living.
The shop opened after the unit’s last tenant, East Durham Artists’ Network, moved out as it searched for a new base.