See the Earthworks Exhibition here ...

March 2023

Earthworks Move into Print

Earthworks Book


At long last the book version of the Earthworks project is complete!  And as I leaf through the pages of the book, I feel the warm glow of a job well done, thanks to the solid support of Chelsea Frew (designer) and Ricky Frew (photographer).

This beautiful, high-quality art book contains over a hundred pages of images and words celebrating the intricate workings of the earth, as experienced through the eyes - and hands - of textile and mixed media artist Jan Kilpatrick.  Striking photography by Ricky Frew illustrates the landscape that both inspires Jan’s work and provides the materials from which the work is made.  The nature-led processes involved in the making are also recorded through photography, along with a selection of the finished textile and poetry works that emerged from this immersive project. It is a visual feast.

Earthworks, the book, is a textile-covered, hardback volume, almost A4 in size.  It is limited to an edition of 500 signed copies and was launched on the 28th May 2023.  It is only available through the artist’s website.  To make an order, please click here.



21st August 2022

They Used to be Sunflowers

I am excited to tell you that the Earthworks exhibition at The Ceilidh Place, Ullapool, is now underway and I understand that there have been a few sales already!  Quite often the buyers of work at this venue are passing through on a long trip around Scotland, so sometimes just take the work with them.  So, I thought that it would be good idea to make a slideshow of all thirty eight works and put it on my web site, in case by the time you go to see the exhibition, a few pieces have already flown the coop.  And if you are interested to see the work but cannot come to Ullapool in person, then at least you can take a virtual tour from the comfort of your own home.  Just click here to see the show.

I want to thank Ricky Frew for taking so many lovely photographs (I had to photograph some late-finished pieces myself, but I expect you'll be able to spot the ones taken by the amateur!); Chelsea Frew for designing the poster for the exhbition and Brian Davidson for making the slideshow (which is well beyond my capablitlies).

Everything comes from the earth and returns to the earth. It is the larder that provides for all living beings. And, in one form or another, eventually holds all our secrets and memories. This is an exhibition of textile works drawn from the earth, in terms of methods, materials and imagery.  In fact, some of the cloth has even lain buried in the peat for months on end!  If you'd like to see and read more about the journey towards the finished work, have a look at my Earthworks page.

The show of thirty eight new pieces of work will take place at the Ceilidh Place, Ullapool, between August 19th and October 30th 2022.The larger works will be on display in the Green Room (dining room towards the rear of the cafe), whilst smaller works can be seen in the cafe and bar areas. Please contact the Ceilidh Place if you are interested in buying any of the work. To read an informative review of this exhibition please click here. To purchase a high quality print of this poster click here.



One disappointment carried over from my winter endeavours is that I did not manage to settle to working on a book of images and words to accompany this exhibition.  A book is still in my mind but, in order to do it justice, I think I will be aiming for a Christmas publication rather than rushing it to be finished for August.  But I have a whole new set of desktop publishing skills to learn, so don't hold your breath!



9th July 2022

I'm now nearing the end of making this body of work, some of which has been lying around in my studio, in various half-conceived forms, for almost two years!  It really does feel that it is time to bring all of it to a finish and, nerve-wracking as it is, to let the public see what I have been up to all of that time.  There are 35 or 40 potential works, with there being space at the Ceilidh Place to display them all, depending on whether or not they sit comfortably in that environment.  You can see a preview of just a few of them in the gallery below.

I have exhibited at the Ceilidh Place a few times before, so I am hoping that that experience means that I have made a good judgement on the range and amount of work needed.  Not long now until I find out for sure.



June 2022

Time is making itself more and more present in my work.

After 15 years of residency in our sitting room, the old couch was sagging and so last summer we dismantled it and put the various elements – cloth, wadding and wood – to good use. All that remained was the bed of springs that made up the seat. This was stored at the back of the garden, gently rusting, waiting for its new purpose to be revealed.

Last week, I realised that there were various watery buckets of resources – leaves, sour milk, rusty nails - that had been, for some time, sitting outside my studio, also waiting to find their purpose. Added to this, the tea tent that I had put up to accommodate student lunches, as part of a Covid-safe environment, had suffered terribly in the winds and had to be dismantled, leaving a deeply muddy patch on the ground.

It felt like all these circumstances called for a giant printing ritual, an opportunity to put all these half-baked, half-realised dreams to bed. And so I laid the first old bed sheet on the muddy ground and layered it up with leaves, milk, rusty springs, more bed linen, spent onionskin dye, nails and more bed linen, then weighed it down with some old storage heater bricks, making a bed that would lie, untouched, for three months, just settling in to the earth, receiving both sunshine and rain in the course of the summer.

My plan is to share the results, in September, with the students on the Fabric of the Land course. I will then go on to use some of the printed fabric in making work along the emerging theme of alliteration.


Please click on an image to see the full picture.



7th April 2022

Easter is now upon us and for me it signifies the beginning of Open Studio Days and a long run of courses to plan and deliver.  And so, I now have to split my time, energy and concentration between these concerns and the finishing of the many Earthworks panels that I have been working on over the winter.  Of course, I knew this time would come, so I have tried to get beyond the conceptual stage for each piece so that the finishing off, which can be quite time-consuming when it involves stitching, is more of a repetitive and soothing process, providing a balance to the busy teaching activities.  One disappointment carried over from my winter endeavours is that I did not manage to settle to working on a book of images and words to accompany this exhibition.  A book is still in my mind, but in order to do it justice, I think I will be aiming for a Christmas publication rather than rushing it to be finished for August.


7th January 2022

I am continuing to work on this theme throughout the winter and finding myself straying into using wool, wood and stone, as well as eco-dyed and printed cloth.  It is an exciting journey!   The exhibition will be at the Ceilidh Place, Ullapool, in the autumn, which doesn't seem so far off now.


Unearthing the Work


11th October 2021

The Midas Sun

My long-term project – to produce a body of work on the theme of the earth – has been on hold since the spring, because the last few months have been all about teaching and re-connecting with friends and former students. Meeting up with my family was also put on hold but, now that I am no longer tied to the studio, I can get down south and visit them too.


Meanwhile, I am pulling out of storage all the part-developed cloth that I have been amassing and looking for a direction for each piece. My last teaching group was small, so I have already made a wee bit of a start by stitching alongside them and last week I actually completed my first piece for exhibition. This image is a detail from “The Midas Sun”.


And so “Earthworks” is now top of my creative agenda once again. I look forward, as autumn takes hold, of finding a way to realise my yearning to make this work. I have less than a year in which to do it. I know that sounds a lot, but life does get in the way and I think I will be very pleased if I can make this deadline. Here we go …




earthworks (project)

7th April 2021

It has been a long seven months since I last made a post to this web page.  Like most folk, I have had to mine the depths of my self-resiliance just to get through the twin challenges of the pandemic and a really tough Highland winter.  This has meant that I have not been able to focus on the theme of Earthworks.  Instead, I have been making small works for selling online, in order to make a living.  These have, I hope, answered both my need and my customers' need, to enjoy whatever light we have been able to find.  Mostly, I've been making colourful and positive images of my life here and this has given purpose to each day.

But now, buoyed up by the twin joys of spring and the vaccine programme, I feel ready to go back to the big ideas of the Earthworks project.  So, keep an eye on this page if you want to see some of the developing work!


21st August 2020

In the course of this year's lockdown, there have been many opportunities for little moments of observation of the landscape and the flora and fauna to be found within and outwith my garden.  Indeed, the quiet roads and the slow rhythm to each day allowed me to go deeper into my connection with the natural world.  And as the weeks turned into months, a slow-simmering plan for a new body of work emerged.  Everything comes from the earth and returns to the earth. It is the larder that provides for all living beings. And, in one form or another, eventually holds all our secrets and memories.

This is a theme that I have touched upon many a time, but now that I have spent several years developing the use of plants, minerals and found materials to make marks on cloth, I feel that I have the tools, the medium and the imagery to create some work worthy of this theme. But it will be a slow process, in thought and deed.  I imagine that I might have a collection of work - visual and written - in around two years' time, just around my sixtieth birthday.  I plan to call this collection, and the accompanying book, Earthworks.

My use of new media is limited to Instagram and the updating of this website.  So, I have created a website page for this new project and will occasionally post an image or piece of writing, should you be interested to look.  But most of the work will be under wraps until I feel that it is ready to share with an audience.

I am very excited to be taking on such a big theme over such a long period of time and hope that I can do the theme justice.  But, there is only one way to find out!



earthworks natural dyes


Please click to enlarge image



To see the full range of finished work from the exhibition click here.
Email :    Tel : 01854 666279,   Postal Address : Jan Kilpatrick, Cul Mor, Elphin, By Lairg, Sutherland, IV274HH.

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