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House Visits: Art Inspiration

If you can't go experience art and culture, we'll bring it to you. Our new series gets inside the homes of NZ creatives to see what's on their walls.


The days of visiting galleries and exhibitions are temporarily on hold. The lost opportunity to get motivation from walking through new spaces and soaking in different works is a void The Big Idea wants to help fill. 

Our ‘House Visits’ series takes you into the homes of people in the creative world, to see what they have collected on their travels, what it means to them and what they’re using as inspiration inside their own four walls.

Marianne Hargreaves - Christchurch

My present role is Executive Director of WORD Christchurch. I have worked with Rachael King as Programme Director for six years and we have grown from a biennial festival to an organisation presenting literary events throughout the year as well as the festival itself. In 2019, our non-festival year, we presented 49 events! 

This year is a festival year, so we are now at home revising the plan and looking at ways we can emerge in a new world where the paradigm will have changed but different opportunities will emerge. We have Zoom meetings with our other two staff members, but much of the discussion is about coping with our other bubble members and best recommendations for movies and series watching – oh and best books!

For many of us in Christchurch, we worked from home for a long time after the earthquakes so we know how this goes. We have major challenges ahead, but they are not insurmountable - it’s really about the journey again.

The Tour Begins

This is an artwork by Michael Brennand Wood surrounded by my collection of kete and bags.

Michael is a British textile artist who did a residency in Waikato and at the Arts Centre in Christchurch. I met him in 1992 when he took a workshop in Auckland for a group of textile artists, involved in the making of the Globe Theatre Hangings, which subsequently led to an exhibition at the Barbican in London with eleven of those New Zealand textile artists. 

This piece is made from individual shapes of wood, covered with fabric and paint bound together with wire and is all about journeys. The last time I caught up with Michael we went to the Oceania exhibition together in London, another story of journeys. The kete and bags all have their own stories adding to the overall picture.

My cousin, who worked for the UN, collected old textile pieces and wooden printing blocks for me from the markets of Afghanistan and Pakistan. These pieces have continued to inspire me to interpret journeys with my own printing, patching, stitching and combining of textiles. 

At the moment because my work life has been busy, I have limited my creative works to cushions as I know I can get those more easily finished. The first week of lockdown, I tidied my studio space (a reclaimed garden shed) and I am confident I could sustain six months without having to buy any materials!

I get such joy being able to surround myself in the wonderful, unique and boldly Aotearoa pieces. Toi Māori can be found throughout the house, including exquisite work from the very talented Michel Tuffery (above) and Ngahina Hohaia (below).


Marianne Hargreaves



Written by

The Big Idea Editor

6 Apr 2020

The Big Idea Editor