About us – a magazine for Northern Rivers Arts Health and Wellbeing

From the Bower is an online magazine produced by Northern Rivers Arts, Health and Wellbeing (NRAHW) – a collective of art therapists, artists, health workers and community members.

It’s for the entire community – to promote the proven benefits of the arts in enhancing both physical and mental health and wellbeing.

NRAHW was founded by artist Dawn Thirlaway in 2011 to improve the health of the community through access to the creative arts.



Dawn was a gifted potter, ceramic and jewellery artist who moved to the Northern Rivers in 1998.

In 2007 Dawn was faced with the challenge of bowel cancer. With her typical stoicism and dry sense of humour, she tackled this challenge head on, and after extensive surgery and treatment, not only healed herself but also helped others to heal – nurturing their talent and sharing her love of art to bring peace to others.

Dawn exhibited her pottery, ceramics and jewellery both regionally and interstate and in 2009 won third place in the Border Art Prize. She was represented by The Channon Gallery. Her passion was “neriage” – a Japanese process of laminating coloured clays and creating patterns which requires patience and attention to detail.

In 2011 Dawn won the Cancer Council Art Awards Visual Art category for her ceramic work Knitting My Life Together, one of her Honours artworks.

She maintained her art practice from Union St Design Studio in South Lismore and ran Healing with Clay workshops for a variety of groups and individuals, as well as teaching ceramics to people with disabilities.

Sadly, in early 2013, Dawn was forced to stop work after the cancer returned. Her positivity, gratitude, courage and constant concern for others, even while so ill, were part of Dawn’s nature.

From the Bower is a legacy of Dawn’s drive in setting up NRAHW and we hope you enjoy the magazine. We welcome contributions. Stories of inspiration around art and its healing properties in all forms are especially welcome.

From the Bower exists to provide an avenue for stories, artwork including doodlings and to link up the community with creative opportunities, art therapists and health workers using art in their practice.

Our website contains profiles of local therapists, artists and health workers and an ever growing directory of artistic groups and classes for anyone interested in exploring the arts.

We’d welcome your subscription to our regular newsletter. You can subscribe by filling in your email and name on our subscription link. Or just drop us a line at:    and we will add you to our email list.

Our sincere appreciation goes to Lismore GP and patron of the arts, Dr Andrew Binns, for his continued support of NRAHW and to Angela Bettess, magazine/web designer, and other contributors and collaborators.

Andrew is pictured below (middle) receiving an Outstanding Community Service Award in 2016 to honour his many years of professional and community work in the Northern Rivers.

phn awards