Christmas Carding on Mill Square

Christmas Carding on Mill Square

Onkaparinga blankets were woven in Lobethal for more than 130 years and the iconic patterns are well-loved and fondly remembered by those who slept beneath their woolly warmth. Artist Meg Wilson referenced these memories, as well as the process of wool processing , with her light installation Christmas Carding in Mill Square in December 2019.

Meg researched the popular Onkaparinga blanket patterns and also explored the process of wool carding where the tangles in the wool are teased out before it is spun. Meg saw a connection between smoothing out the wool fibres and the process that many of us go through before Christmas every year, when we dig out the Christmas fairy lights and sort out the tangles.

Light display over a frame

Meg faced the fairy light tangle challenge and wove almost half a kilometre of fairy lights through frames along the edge of Mill Square, a process reminiscent of the threading of a loom. She then meticulously painted every single fairy light, to replicate the palette of an Onkaparinga blanket.

The installation was on display for almost two weeks during the Lights of Lobethal festival and provided a backdrop to our outdoor Christmas Music Festival. Sadly the Cudlee Creek fire that came through Lobethal on December 20 led to the closure of the town, and the Lights of Lobethal. The installation survived the fire (thanks to the volunteer fire fighters stationed along Mill Rd) but the installation lives on in our memories.

Meg is a South Australian-based interdisciplinary artist who works predominantly with large-scale and often site-specific installation and performance. She also works as a designer for theatre and has worked with the State Theatre Company of SA, Windmill Theatre and Restless Dance Company.

Christmas Carding was supported by Adelaide Hills Council and Arts South Australia and the Government of South Australia.