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You are here: Home Artist Speak

Artist speak

5 Panels form the Mosaic Mural Project at UQWE.sandy robertson mosaic artist teacher ozmosaics

There are many engineering features in the mosaic murals and interesting points of interest.
  

Allow time when visiting the murals to discover how the materials and mosaic techniques capture the concept of water engineering to stimulate, inspire and create conversation.

School students may be interested to discuss a project with their teacher.
Pick a topic from the mural and investigate.


I read online that a mosaic fountain was the feature on the Opening Day of one of the Mt Crosby Water Treatment plants; it's an historic site now but it would be amazing to renovate the mosaic fountain!  I enjoyed researching the architecture of Water Treatment Plants of old.

From the top right hand corner of Panel 1 gaze at a mountain top dam with water connecting to a penstock; imagine the water rushing down the penstock pipes to turn the hydro electric turbines.

Journey through rural scenes, discovering special features and power lines.  Fish in Lake Wivenhoe -  perhaps take a skiing lesson on the sparkling dam water.   Beautiful shades of blue smalti glass tile is used for Lake Wivenhoe waters, in a traditional mosaic style and andamento.

Have you visited Lake Wivenhoe and trecked the parks and shores?
There are great camping spots and interesting flora and fauna to be found.
Explore the dam and find out more about hydro electricity and Splityard Creek Dam.  It's fascinating to learn how water is pumped from the lower dam to the Splityard Creek Dam in non-peak times ready for the peak times!

Follow the fruit truck into the country town and notice the water tower and pipes leading to the town houses.  An old town clock (fashioned from an Royal Doulton china cup) is featured on the town building tower.

Open Google Maps and trace the journey of the water pipes from Lake Wivenhoe, to the water treatment plants.  See how far it is piped above and below the land to the suburbs and city.
Imagine the engineering involved and the upkeep, care and maintenance to bring fresh water to the communities?


Drive over the Auxiliary Dam bridge, in the matchbox car, and imagine the spillways at flood time.

Imagine turning on the huge mosaic tap for fresh, sparkling water flowing to the pipes in the home.
The mosaic “home cut-out” shows pipes connecting to bathroom, kitchen, laundry, basements and hot water system.  Have you ever considered the pipe network leading to, into, through and out of your home?


Listen to the water gurgling in the pipes and journeying underground in storm water drains.
Keep the dog poo bags handy so the water drains aren't polluted  - and don't wash paint and oil down the drain.  Rinse in buckets of water and clean and drain on newspaper.

Would your house pass the Council smoke test for illegal drain connections?
Can you find a crack in the storm water pipe in the mural?


Where is the entry point for the smoke detection and where is smoke billowing out of the home water pipes?


The water pipes travel over and under the land.
Hospitals, schools and city benefit from the clean water.

Water is reused for parklands, water parks, industrial areas, sporting grounds and recreation.
Stroll along the boardwalk and imagine what may be underneath the road?

Sewerage pipes cut underground through rocky cliffs, stretching out into the ocean floor, to take treated waste water from the sewerage treatment plants.


The marvel of engineering, sees diffusers set out on the ocean floor and constant checks are made on the water levels for marine life safety.  Search online for stories of sharks enjoying a visit to the diffusers in Perth!

It's important that these diffusers work well to keep the beaches and water clean for marine life, water sports, swimming, health and tourism.  Many remember the good old days of Bondi and the rather murky waters from the sewerage spewing into the ocean. Thanks to engineers this is a thing of the past.

Take a nap under the beach umbrella and don't forget to swim beneath the flags. Slip, slop, slap!

Watch out for the friendly lizard.  I have met some at Christmas Island that steal your handbag (the amazing Robber Crab).    Grab a coffee by the pool and take a moment to appreciate the water in the coffee and the pool!


Can you hear the wildlife in the wetlands?  A good reminder to care for our wetlands with good water management and restricted building in these special areas.  The frowning turtle popping up from the water is keeping an eye that development is not coming too close!

A careful balance to nurture the wetlands comes from constant care and engineering research and development.

You may have noticed the Red Gum Trees in Panel 4.
Their grey exposed roots (formed from old Toby Jug mugs!) depict the stress these trees are suffering along the Murray River, due to over pumping of river water, to provide water for the cotton stations.  The huge round earth dams use much of the water for cotton fields.  The Red Gums are exposed, parched, roots give way, river banks are crumbling, but the pumps keep on pumping.


The cockatoo watches on in both directions. I learnt along the way that as the tree branches are stressed and the branches fall off, the cockatoos and many birds use the tree holes for nesting.
Mother Nature making the best of things.

Huge tractors and trucks mine away, exposing the land and often mining process water is left for decades in abandoned mines, polluted, looking deceptively beautiful as it reflects blue skies.


The process of the various ores and metals mined uses huge amounts of water and the contaminated waste water results in tailings waste being pumped into tailings dams.  Check out Panel 4 for a tailings dam and Cubism interpretation of the devastation that follows a dam burst.

Tailings dams have to be well constructed and maintained to prevent the collapse of dam walls and subsequent tailings from flooding the environment/villages often located nearby.
Strict engineering guidelines must be followed for safety and the sadness off the horse stuck in mud and the car on the wrecked, mud covered rooftop tells the story in the mural, of recent times.

We take our drinking water for granted but with coal seam gas fracking taking place on many farms we need to be aware of the effects on the environment and the water table and the community at large.

The white face in the mosaic, shows the CSG bores on the country farms, appearing like pimples on a face, angry black heads.  A soothing balm needs to be applied to care for everyone involved.
A balance between need and greed is important.  The pipes connect the gas bores and the water used in fracking forms waste ponds, which much be cared for propertly.  The blue tear near the eye represents the crying of the land for better treatment.
Scientists and engineers are pressured to find solutions for the fracking side effects.


In Panel 5, a wave pounds on the coastal shore and a dolphin leaps happily, but perhaps all is not as calm as it seems on the ocean front.
Oil spills from a tanker affect the water and marine life….a constant problem or could earthquakes from afar be causing a tsunami?

The salt water desalination plant is an engineering marvel.
Salt water intrusion in the sugar cane fields is a constant reminder of the delicacy of the water table.

Water engineers are engaged in research for better management of water across the board and our future relies on water management and infrastructure.

Overhead the sun shines brightly, the water evaporates and clouds appear, soon to drift across the land, towards the mountains for wondrous storms.
Transpiration, condensation, evaporation, distillation and more continues  - the amazing hydrologic cycle.

Below our feet the water table is replenished by rain, run-off and seepage.
Erosion takes place and rivers wind.  The windmill turns and the sunset darkens.
Roosters crow.  Sheep stand by watching the irrigation bores and sprinklers whilst ducks and wild birds paddle.
Horses gather by the water well and did you know that bananas thrive near septic tanks
Grey water engineering has changed the way we reuse our grey water.
Grey water, used wisely allows flower beds to flourish with lawns are kept green, to relax and play.


Do you think it will rain today?  Do you think about the water cycle and how water is gathered, contained and harnessed?

Explore the many facets of the mural and who knows where you may arrive!

Otherwise, relax in a bubble bath and take a moment to appreciate the feats of engineering that make our life so easy every day.

Remember to turn off that dripping tap and take a moment to be grateful to the engineers who are faced with huge challenges in our world today.

Perhaps you will become inspired to discover more and go off on your own journey - We hope we "wet" your appetite and educate you along the way.

I know I am better educated on the use of water and the brilliant engineering minds who are continually researching and developing water engineering into the future.

Visitors are welcome to visit the mosaics during University hours .
Please visit the UQ AE website for open hours or contact the Faculty Office for assistance.

I am sure if walls "could speak" they would tell us how many times visitors to the murals comment "I thought mosaics were flat!"

Modern mosaics allow the mosaic artist much freedom to explore materials (tesserae) for inclusion in mosaics.

Please visit the materials, tools, tesserae, methods link in the side menu if you are interested in the mosaic materials selection and processes.

Mosaic art can range from "smash and crash" to "extreme detail".
It all depends on the project - whether it be a huge mosaic commission or a mosaic tabletop/garden ornament.   Mosaic is often found to be great therapy for mind, heart and soul as a creative hobby.

If you would like the opportunity to try your hand at mosaics, please consider booking a workshop at Studio OzMosaics.You may become addicted but that's a good thing!
Mosaics range from traditional to modern styles and often a good mix of both!

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OzMosaics provides a safe, happy environment for the making of mosaics! award-mosaic

Situatied in the hills of Coorparoo, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia our grand old Queenslander provides a mosaic haven for mosaic artists.

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