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Margaret Stevenson

Outback Artist

While some may say fate for them rests strictly as a concept, there are times in our lives that seem to say otherwise—when the tiny, minuscule events act as catalysts for something grander, something that completely changes our course, its hard to argue against it was anything but the hand of fate guiding us on a journey unforeseen.

Indeed, for Margaret Stevenson, her life as an artist changed in one night, all the way back in 2002. Her Mother had just broken an antique, sentimental plate, and they had come to the decision to throw it away. Though the fractures were deep and the damage certainly meant it could no longer be enjoyed as a beautiful plate, the patterns and colours were still present. The individual shards of this sentimental plate were as gorgeous as ever, and Margaret could no longer bear to part with it.

Creating new beauty


Thus, after coming to the decision to keep it, Margaret began her first mosaic work using the pieces of her family heirloom plate. One mosaic plant pot later, Margaret hasn’t looked back since.

‘That one plate really started it all—it really got me in, and I’m not too sure why,’ explains Margaret. ‘It was just a really fun medium. Before mosaics, I was doing a lot of watercolour, which is hard to control. You sort of have to just go with the flow of the piece. But with mosaics, you can stick a piece down and it’ll stay there. Now, I’ll cover most anything—plant pots, small bottles. If you stand still long enough you’d probably be covered in mosaics as well.’

Jewelled life

Finding her passion through tiles

From the fantastic movement in watercolour to the incredible array of colours in mosaics, Margaret has now taken her art above and beyond. Completing over 60 works in the years as a mosaic artist, Margaret loves to share her knowledge of the mosaic medium with other budding artists around our beautiful Outback.

‘I learnt about it, so I thought, why not pass that knowledge around? So I do quite a few workshops now, teaching others about the ins and outs of mosaic work. It’s really good to see people interested in it, and wanting to get more involved. I’m really passionate about recycling too, so a lot of the materials that I work with and bring with me to workshops are pieces given a second life—found objects are usually the way to go,’ explains Margaret.

‘I don’t really buy any tiles, but I use them if people give them to me. A lot of my friends who know about my mosaic works have what they call ‘Margaret boxes’ at their homes, filled with things I could use in a mosaic work. Plus, haunting the op shops and garage sales is a hobby in itself, I think!’

Historic creations


Now, Margaret’s latest mosaic adventure is undertaking two school murals for both Isisford and Wallumbilla.

‘I think it’s going to be quite historic,’ explains Margaret. ‘The mosaic mural for Isisford includes the school logo, and around it, a young person's drawing of things that happened locally. It is very interesting converting the child’s drawings into a mosaic, and I really think it reflects the community. The second mosaic will be made of pottery that the community brings in. It will feature the Wallumbilla school shield, and two big bottle trees on either side. Around it, white tiles will be put down so that the community families can write their own messages down for the students.’

‘With both schools that are participating, I’m getting to teach them the techniques that I use to do mosaics. I think, as well as learning something new, it gives them a different perspective on things,’ says Margaret. ‘There are many different patterns and colours all around us that I think most people don’t notice. A broken plates not just a broken plate.’

And from that one broken plate, 17 years of amazing mosaic creations have been enjoyed by our Outback and beyond. From us at Red Ridge, we thank Margaret for allowing us to tell her incredible artistic journey!

If you’d like to see more of Margaret’s work, her next exhibition will be in September in Toowoomba, held at the Repertory Theatre!


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