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Photos by MADDIE McGUIGAN
MOSAIC stepping stones, wall art, water features and sculptures fill Tina van Raay’s Campbell garden, making it an outdoor gallery of her glass artworks.
Tina will open the colourful, peaceful space to the public on November 11-12 to raise funds for the Canberra Refugee Support Group, which helps refugees to settle into the community.
“I started creating mosaics after a cancer diagnosis in 2005, when I realised that the only way I was going to get well was by getting back into more creative pursuits,” she says.
“I left my full-time job, sat on my back steps and began breaking glass for my first mosaic and stained glass artworks and I haven’t stopped since.”
Tina says she feels strongly about supporting refugees to adapt to life in their new country, and works mainly with families from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“It’s wonderful to see them settling into life in Canberra and it’s all through being able to help in practical ways, by raising money and awareness,” she says.
“We also provide advocacy and policy advice as well as activities, programs and mentoring.”
On the weekend of the open garden, Tina says the Café Milala on her back deck will serve cakes, coffee and tea, and there will be a shop set up selling stained-glass lanterns, mosaic mirrors and stepping stones made by young women from Afghanistan.
“The pieces for sale are really beautiful and I love that we created them together,” she says.
Tina says she started working on the garden in 2000, and has created a fairy garden that acknowledges her 17 grandchildren with a mosaic artwork for each one and space to store the artistic creations they make together in her workshop.
As well as an abundance of artwork, the Celtic cross-shaped garden is lined with box hedges, overflowing with flowers tucked into every corner, with pond and waterfalls and a mosaic day lounge shaded by a giant London plane tree, complete with a large vegetable garden and the reserve beyond the back fence.
“My husband Rob and I spend a lot of time in the garden,” she says.
“If we’ve been away, the first thing we do when we get back is come and sit out here. It feels like we are in the middle of the country.
“It’s very relaxing and I feel there’s a healing element to the space.”
Tina’s mosaic garden, 28 Vasey Crescent, Campbell, open Saturday, November 11, and Sunday, November 12, 10am-4pm. Entry fee $5. Funds raised will go to the Canberra Refugee Support Group.