Canberra 2019 : : The Transformative Nature of Mosaics

Copyright : : Kim Grant
National Gallery of Australia : : Image credit Visit Canberra
National Gallery sculpture garden : : Image credit Visit Canberra
Canberra Spectacular 2018 : : Image Credit Visit Canberra
Copyright : : Kim Grant
Copyright : : Kim Grant
Kangaroos at Weston Park at sunset : : Image credit Visit Canberra
Parliament House Canberra : : Image credit Visit Canberra
Copyright : : Kim Grant


The next MAANZ symposium will be hosted in Canberra in September 2019 and is entitled The Transformative Nature of Mosaics. To be held at University House, Australian National University. 19th – 23rd September 2019.

Art making, the process of self-expression, engages many aspects of ourselves, the way we see the world, the way we see ourselves, what we want to say, how we feel. The title, The Transformative Nature of Mosaics is the suggestion that the mosaic art making process is a collaboration between many elements; ourselves and nature, the material we use in the making, the found objects we include in the making, the people in community we may involve in the making and the many stories gathered along the way of the making.


Symposium Keynote Speaker

The symposium keynote speaker will be Dr Claire Barnett from Seattle USA. Instructor, mosaic artist and family physician Dr Claire Barnett has been studying, making and teaching mosaics for over 15 years. Claire began creating mosaics after the tragic death of her two young daughters in 2000. As her own backyard filled with memorial garden stones, Claire began expanding her studies, both in mosaic and in medicine, to incorporate the therapeutic nature of mosaics into her medical practice. In 2009 she opened Seattle Mosaic Arts. This community based studio features workshops from international artists, mosaic technique classes, lectures, art shows, group events, commissions, and space and support for people to create their own mosaic projects.

Claire specialises in therapeutic mosaics with a focus on grief and trauma and memorial mosaics. She says:

There is, I believe, some real meaning in the process of breaking up glass and tiles into small pieces and then putting them back together in a new form, over and over again. It is both meditative and creative. There is something soothing about the process and it is a comforting way to be with other people – sharing space and working side-by-side.”



Plenary Sessions:

Debora Aldo (USA), Principal Designer at Pietre Dure Design is a mosaic maker, teacher, explorer,intrepid traveler. Deb is a trained Landscape Architect who spent years focused on the act of creating and making spaces. She began drawing as a toddler, then onto painting and finally to dimensional objects and the creation of residential spaces inside and out. She creates fine art and public art. Each day is focused on how to create, what to design and what problems need solutions in a fun, functional, and beautiful way. This artist/designer believes art and design are teachable skills, everyone can learn!


John Botica (NZ), Power of Pebbles

John Botica is a pebble mosaic artist and designer residing in Auckland, New Zealand. He has been involved in many projects in both the private and public domain, domestically as well as internationally. As a former tennis professional turned pebble mosaic artist, he discovered the greatest passion of his life: from his point of view, pebble mosaics have awakened a giant within him: “I live in utmost ecstasy every day of my life being able to pursue this medium of expression”, John says. He’s made it his mission is to place enormous importance on improving his art throughout each of his consecutive projects. “To feel that one’s own existence does portray a portion of significance is a valid reason to pursue art. I encourage you to join me on this magnificent journey of mosaic art in general.”



Valerie McGarry

Bio coming soon. Website





Dugald Macinnes

Dugald MacInnes was born and raised on Scotland’s west coast, in a landscape that imbued a passion for geology and archaeology. He was familiar with Prehistoric megaliths and rock art and also with now defunct slate quarries. His familiarity with slate dramatically re-emerged when he was introduced to its use as an artistic medium by his tutor George Garson at the Glasgow School of Art in 1972. Garson taught Dugald not as a mosaicist but as an artist and there was no involvement in Classical mosaic methodology and materials but, rather, great emphasis was placed upon the uses of visual elements in composing works of art per se. Dugald went on to obtain a degree in geology in 1985 as well as a qualification in archaeology at the University of Glasgow; both disciplines providing him with a deeper understanding of the creation and formation of the landscape, the dynamic geological forces that underpin our very existence, and how people throughout the ages have modified their environment. Slate is Dugald’s principal medium; its variety of colour, texture, and form provides him with a range of approaches to his art; often minimalistic but on occasion returning to his roots with small studies, exploring the characteristics of the rock as a way of opening new pathways in his creative processes. His work has been shown in the USA, Europe and Japan and he teaches his unique approach to mosaic at the Chicago Mosaic School.



Erin Pankratz

Bio coming soon. Website


Kathryn Portelli

Bio coming soon. Website


Heather Vollans

Heather is an Australian artist living in Canada.  Her mosaic work includes public art, community projects, teaching and exhibition work.

Her current mosaic work is mostly with stone and metal, each alone or combined.  And her work is always abstract because abstract does not interfere with the materials’ “voice”. Influenced by the Australian landscape colours and Middle Eastern desert colours, her palette often consists of soft and muted earth tones.

Materials matter! They speak and have their own voice – sometimes loud, sometimes soft, but always strong. It is the materials themselves that fire me – the finding, and the stories that surround them. Design mostly comes well after the finding and playing and is dictated by the materials themselves and how they work together, either disparately or harmoniously,” says Heather.

The transformative possibilities of materials – whether literally giving the materials new life or providing a forum for conversation and a way of people connecting (especially in community art projects) – are what have inspired Heather’s work for many years.



PechaKucha Sessions *)

Kelly Knickerbocker

Bio coming soon. Website


Marian Shapiro

Originally trained in art and theatre, Marian became fascinated by the possibilities of the ancient art of mosaic in 2002 and has been a full-time working artist since 2003.  Living in the Blue Mountains just outside Sydney, she likes a visual and verbal pun and is well known for her sense of colour and her dimensional mosaic work, which gives the impression of movement and material. Recent work has explored a variety of topics including threatened species and responses to current events.

Her work is shown and collected nationally and internationally and has also been featured in a numerous books and magazines. Marian frequently travels both in Australia and internationally to speak and teach.


*) Don’t know what PechaKucha stands for? Here’s an explanation of this presentation format on Wikipedia.


The volunteers to date helping to make the symposium happen are Noula Diamantopoulos (NSW), Sue Leitch (TAS), Luna Cameron-Parrish (VIC), Helen Harman (VIC), Caitlin Hepworth (NSW), Marian Shapiro (NSW), David Lacey (NSW) and Sitara Morgenster (NZ).

On the Ground Volunteers:

Kim Grant (Canberra)
Terry Holland (Canberra)

National Exhibition Coordinator:

Caitlin Hepworth

If you would like to have an active role in the symposium please email

This page and our Facebook page will be updated as more details emerge.