“Unearthed”: A Grateful Journey in Mosaic Art

Receiving the New Horizons Mosaic Award is an immense honor—one that fills me with both joy, especially at a time when I am healing from a severe foot injury. The MAANZ 2019 National Mosaic Exhibition, held at Octagon ArtSpace in The Woodworks Gallery, Bungendore, New South Wales, provided a platform for artists like me to showcase our passion and creativity.

Unearthed Sandy mosaic wall mural ozmosaicsGratitude to the Judges

To the judges who meticulously evaluated the mosaic entries, I express my sincere appreciation. Your discerning eyes recognized the spirit of my mosaic innovation woven into each tessera, the dedication that anchors them to unconventional substrates, and the passion that breathes life into my creations.

A Two-Decade Journey in Mosaic Art

For over two decades, my journey in mosaic art has been a tapestry of exploration, learning, and inspiration. From traditional techniques to contemporary expressions, I have absorbed influences from diverse cultures and methods. Studio OzMosaics, nestled in the vibrant heart of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, has been my sanctuary—a place where ideas take shape, textures intertwine, and creativity flourishes.

Guided by the Beacon of Recognition

This award serves as a beacon, guiding me forward on this artistic odyssey. It reaffirms my commitment to pushing boundaries, celebrating craftsmanship, and sharing the magic of mosaics with the world. To my fellow artists, I stand humbly among you, inspired by your collective brilliance.

Prize winning mosaic by Sandy Robertson / MAANZ SymposiumA Journey Inspired by China’s Terracotta Army


Artist Statement | Sandra Robertson
"I was inspired to create this mosaic after a holiday trip to China in 2019"

The Terracotta Army in Xi’an, also known as the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, is a super large collection of life-size terra cotta sculptures in battle formations, reproducing the mega imperial guard troops of Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259 - 210 BC), the first emperor of the first unified dynasty of Imperial China. I was fascinated to watch the scientists working in the earthy pits reconnecting and examining the terracotta warriors. Dave and I hope to return to Xi’an to spend more time exploring and visiting the Museum. We loved visiting the Great Wall of China and many other places in China and Japan. I hope to create a series of mosaics based on the trip and experiment further with Laticrete Australia products, which allow me to push the limits of modern mosaics.

“Unearthed”: A Mosaic Reflecting Time and Transformation

Artist: Sandra Robertson - Studio OzMosaics Title: “Unearthed” Price:MAANZ Prize: $1000 Award

Materials and Artistic Process

  • Cement sheet substrate
  • Terracotta
  • Oxide-tinted thinset: Hand-formed slabs and motifs
  • Ceramic tile
  • Dynasty smalti
  • Gold smalti
  • Terracotta pot slabs
  • Laticrete products: #335, #4237 system, Hydroban, #4217, #3701, and special stirred oxide techniques.

The Story Behind “Unearthed” Artist Statement:

Discovered by a farmer in 1974, the brightly colored, glazed Xi’an Chinese terracotta army warriors transformed to grey within moments of unearthing. Stunned archaeologists were left with tiny color chips to investigate and replicate the former glorious colors.

In my mosaic, hand-formed, variegated, thinset tesserae, with stirred oxides, represent the terracotta exposure to light and air after 2000 years underground. Special tesserae surface effects—an antique, golden teapot rim, glazed ceramic terracotta tile, and smalti—depict crumbling, color transformation, and artistic armory patterns. The view from the left-middle shows armor and sleeve, while the right-middle reveals the face/profile/helmet of a Qin Dynasty Emperor/Warrior, using terracotta fragments.

Gratitude and Continuation

Thank you, MAANZ, for fostering a mosaic community that thrives on passion, resilience, and the joy of creation. And to all who appreciate and celebrate art, your support fuels my journey, one tessera at a time.

Receiving the New Horizons Mosaic Award is an immense honour—one that fills me with both joy and reverence, especially at a time when I was healing from a severe foot injury (from which I am sufficiently recovered to contine on with my mosaic addction (best medicine ever!).

Held at Octagon ArtSpace, The Woodworks Gallery Bungendore NSW.

Made with Laticrete Australia products, Prize winning mosaic mural, OzMosaicsSpecial tesserae surface effects, an antique, golden teapot rim, glazed ceramic terracotta tile and smalti, depict crumbling, colour transformation and artistic armoury patterns. View left-middle, shows armour & sleeve.View right-middle, shows Qin Dynasty Emperor/Warrior's face/profile/helmet, using terracotta fragments.  
The making of this mosaic mural will be showcased in the Mosaic Online School.  Keep a look out for the launch date of the MOS in 2024.