Market trader Dawn Jaikens is making inroads into the craft industry by using Todmorden as a test bed for her talent.
The Halifax entrepreneur has an eye for detail and a blossoming business, Cards with Class, which is earning her a keen following and increasing amounts of repeat business.
For the past four months she has sold her often quirky and always eye-catching hand-made greetings cards on Todmorden outdoor market on Saturdays and Sundays.
She started making them eight years ago, focusing on decoupage and opting for a wide range of subjects, from gothic images to gorillas and fairies to fast cars, to broaden their appeal.
But four years ago she had to call a halt to her work after being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 42.
A “sausage-shaped” lump was finally diagnosed as an aggressive form of breast cancer after her third visit to her doctor in 2009 and within two weeks she was dmitted for a lumpectomy at Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax, followed by six months of chemotherapy treatment there and four weeks of radiotherapy in Leeds.
She now visits a specialist annually, a recent mammogram was clear and in another year she will know if the cancer is in remission.
Dawn, of Hambleton Drive, Mixenden, hopes her story will encourage other women who may discover a lump to persevere and get it checked out. “The doctor didn’t think it was anything because it wasn’t the right shape - mine was shaped like a sausage and they are usually pea shaped.
“The oncologist said if they had left it another three or four months there would have been nothing they could do, so I was very lucky,” she said.
Her creative streak has been inherited by her son Joshua, 16, who wants to be a graphic designer.
Dawn, who was born in Surrey but moved to Calderdale where her parents were originally from shortly after Joshua’s birth, hopes to make further inroads into other markets in the area and would be keen to attend fetes and other fund-raising events to highlight her work.
To see more examples of Dawn’s cards visit the market or see www.facebook.com/cardswithclass. For bespoke requests call 07920 052323.