April 2022

Night Vigil I

The Covid lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 were, for me, a time of profound isolation and intense creative development. As I worked away on textile pieces on the theme of “Earthworks”, and all the connotations that word implies, I found myself drawn more and more to the incidental and repeat marks that I found in the cloth, much of which had been boiled up on the bonfire or buried in the peat. There were so many variations and rhythms of marks such as a circles and lines that I felt myself drifting away from making representational images of the natural world and drawn towards celebrating the patterns and shapes that are common to all life forms.


Some of these shapes are almost calligraphy and call to mind the ancient Celtic language of Ogham, or Nordic runic inscriptions, or the symbols that are found in pre-historic art. The term “alliteration” is often used to describe a series of words that have a similar starting sound, eg she sells sea shells, but a different ending from each other. I find great joy in the fact that, in nature, once one looks beyond the obvious repetition, there is an enormous variation in form to be found. This gallery represents my first steps in making work in this direction.

This image is also available in Card Format.




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.



Email :    Tel : 01854 666279,   Postal Address : Jan Kilpatrick, Cul Mor, Elphin, By Lairg, Sutherland, IV274HH.

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