Zee Dammerel (Artist)
"My aim has always been to create a beautiful place where people felt inspired, where their spirits were lifted and where they left feeling better than when they arrived."
How fortunate Koonwarra is to have Zee Dammerell living in its midst.
Zee was born in Bellingen NSW, in lush dairy country much like South Gippsland. The daughter of a Shire Clerk, she spent her formative teenage years in Wilcannia NSW on the edge of the desert 200 kms from Broken Hill. There was no High School in the town and the only other teenager was the Bank Manager’s daughter so they did their lessons by correspondence in the staff room at the Primary School.
Before moving to Wilcannia Zee had attended High School in Sydney and there formed a love of art. Moving to London in her early 20s years she returned to Australia at 26 and started to draw, teaching herself for a couple of years. She then decided that if she could draw she should also be able to paint, so she bought herself some paints and got started. She didn’t have lessons but just kept working on her natural ability.
In the early 90s Zee visited a place near Byron Bay where the proprietor had a gallery, store and café. The idea stayed in her mind and she decided she wanted to do something like that. She held her dream for about ten years by which time she had moved to Koonwarra (in 1993). While managing the Koonwarra Store she would look across the road to the old property built in the 1950s that was the original Post Office and think to herself what a great location it was for a business – never dreaming she would be the one to set it up!
She left the Store and moved to Avonsleigh where she began experimenting with colourful ceramic painting – even taking a couple of classes but she still had her dream and thought about the Koonwarra property. It wasn’t on the market but she felt it was the right place for what she wanted to create – a place of beauty where people could come and be inspired. Finally it did come on the market and she purchased it that same day, immediately setting about designing the garden.
Zee's much sought
after tea pots
Expanding her interests in ceramics and her passion for bright colours, Zee focused on ceramics as she began her business, immediately setting up a teaching arm to cater for the many people who wanted to learn to express their own ideas in clay. Jewellery making followed and soon there were jewellery classes, then mosaics and finally, art classes.
Zee believes it important to pass on skills so during this time the workshop blossomed into a flourishing meeting place of ideas and creativity. Her studio grew into a colourful and unusual gift and homewares store as well, with her artworks finding their way into many countries throughout the world. Former Prime Minister John Howard was presented with one of her pieces on a visit to the area (see “News” section of this website). and various visiting overseas dignitaries have been presented with her artwork to carry home to their country. Zee has also been featured in several magazines and in 2006 was invited to hold a one woman exhibition in Melbourne.The property developed firstly through art and has now grown to incorporate food (Peaceful Gardens Organic Cooking School, and Farmhouse Kitchen) and healing (Escentials) as well as beautiful gardens – refer the Business section of this website.
Having run the Artisans Workshop property for some twelve years Zee has now decided to close her Artworkz Studio and move on to new challenges, but the Artisans Workshop will live on as will her love for and participation in her art. She still plans to paint and exhibit her much sought after teapots whilst also involving herself in an international company with humanitarian interest both here and overseas.
The property developed firstly through art and has now grown to incorporate food (Peaceful Gardens Organic Cooking School, and Farmhouse Kitchen) and healing (Escentials) as well as beautiful gardens - refer the Business section of this website.
Her ultimate aim has always been to create a beautiful place where people felt inspired, where their spirits were lifted and where they left feeling better than when they arrived. This aim has most certainly been achieved as the Artisans Workshop has been just that for a multitude of people who have purchased unusual gifts, enjoyed the beautiful gardens and adjacent nature reserve, stopped for a coffee, learned a skill or just wandered through the peaceful surroundings, listening to the water trickling through the fountains and the birdsong from the forest. Thank you Zee for pursuing your dream and creating an oasis of refreshment for all of us to enjoy and participate in for so long.
We wish you well in wherever the pathways of life will now lead you.