Along the Grapevine Building 20 Woollen Mill Lobethal Fabrik Arts and Heritage

Solastalgia and Recovery

By Kendrea Rhodes

As the weeks and months pass since the Cudlee Creek fires, people are learning to live with grief, stress, relief, pain, loss and gain. Feelings of anxiety feed into a kind of homesickness when community, home and identity are disturbed — this distress, caused by environmental change, is also called solastalgia.

In the township of Lobethal, the old Woollen Mill is responding to many of the community needs in practical and creative ways through Fabrik Arts + Heritage, the Adelaide Hills Council, and the State and Federal Governments.  

‘Solastalgia – an antidote’ is an Adelaide Fringe exhibition responding to an environmental crisis where artists discover ways to ease the pain of adjusting to changes in the place we call home. Fabrik will host the exhibition in Building 21, opening on Saturday February 15th at 6pm, then every Thursday to Sunday, 11am – 4pm, until March 15th.

Lobethal poet, writer and artist, Belinda Broughton and Cudlee Creek resident, Joan Gibbs, ecologist from the University of South Australia, will share their thoughts on solastaglia on opening night. How apt that the Mill — a place subject to change for 150 years; a place saved by the CFS and water-bombing aircraft; a place beloved by its community — is now best placed to offer solace from solastaglia. For more information please visit fabrik.org.au/solastalgia.

The arts bring communities together and aid recovery; a concept not only supported globally, but also through the overwhelmingly positive results of past artistic events at the Lobethal Woollen Mill.

Melinda Rankin, Director of Fabrik said, ‘The arts have much to offer the recovery of our community … [and] to be most effective, our offerings need to be informed by the community’s needs. … If we can’t be here for the community now, when can we be?’

In response to community requests, several events are planned at Fabrik, including the rescheduled Gathered Design market. This market, run by Woodside local Jenna O’Dell, was initially planned for December 20-22 but was cancelled due to the Cudlee Creek Fire. The renamed Re:Gathered market will be held from 11am to 7pm, on the weekend of the 8th and 9th of February at the Mill. Several workshops will also run throughout the community: ‘Ukulele Workshop’ at the Lobethal Bierhaus; ‘Wire Sculpture Workshop’ at the Amberlight Motorcycle Café; and ‘Sewing for Wildlife Workshop’ on the green at Mill Square. For more information please visit Fabrik’s website: fabrik.org.au/whats-on

Fabrik are open for suggestions and available to listen to community initiatives: phone 8408 0400 or email fabrik@ahc.sa.gov.au.  

Community outpouring of heartfelt thank-yous and gratefulness around the Adelaide Hills

The feature image of this post is Building 20 — one of Fabrik’s unique exhibition spaces and the old blanket finishing room of the Onkaparinga Woollen Mill. Building 20 is currently the region’s Bushfire Recovery Centre. Between the staff of Fabrik and Recovery Centre staff, a welcoming space has been created for all visitors. And as an important place of heritage and creativity in the Adelaide Hills, this has occurred with community well-being at its heart.

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