Outside the mainstream

STITCH IN TIME: Marina McPherson with her embroidered painting on display at Nelson's Christ Church Cathedral.
ANNA PEARSON
STITCH IN TIME: Marina McPherson with her embroidered painting on display at Nelson's Christ Church Cathedral.

Outsider artists from Nelson have brought the grey walls inside Nelson's Christ Church Cathedral to life.

The exhibition is part of the Nelson Arts Festival, featuring work by non-trained or "outsider" artists – like those with mental illnesses who use Magenta Creative Space and Nikau House.

Nelson's Marina McPherson calls herself an "inside-out" artist, because she studied art at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology for a year.

Her embroidered painting of Marilyn Monroe, chain-stitched on to synthetic organza, is among the works on display.

McPherson goes to Magenta twice a week and has a cleaning job to pay for her arts supplies. She also pops into Nikau House now and then.

"I do [art] every day, it helps with my nerves – I find it very calming and therapeutic," she said.

McPherson encouraged her friend Donna Smith to visit Magenta, and she also has work on display in the cathedral.

"Marina took me along one day and I started the following week. I love it," Smith said.

She does artwork before she goes to work, as a kitchen-hand at a rest home.

"It helps me feel relaxed before I go." Nelson Arts Council community arts manager Lloyd Harwood said the exhibition was a way for Nelson's outsider artists to be part of the Nelson Arts Festival.

Dean Nick Kirk said it was lovely to see the colour on the walls – "because the grey does get a bit drab after a while".

Nelson