Earthworks Book Review


Earthworks by Jan Kilpatrick.

A timeless book rooted in place.

Earthworks, a book clothed in rich autumnal fabric, explores Jan Kilpatrick’s creative process and the threads that bind her textile art practice to the wild land that surrounds her home and studio.

‘Everything comes from the earth and is returned to the earth. It is a larder for all human beings and, in one form or another, eventually holds all our secrets and memories’. JK. Earthworks.

The making of the book was born from Jan’s exhibition of the same name, shown at the Ceilidh Place, Ullapool in September 2022.

Pages of artwork, poetry and images of landscape transport the reader to Assynt in the far North West of Scotland.

Photographs of Jan’s finished textiles are interspersed with images of her process. Of Jars filled with oak leaf galls, dogwood, rhubarb and copper. Stacks of cotton cloth sandwiched with leaf, stem, flower and seed. The smoking outdoor wood fires over which Jan boils cloth with natural materials. The swaddled bundles, buried in peat bogs, where raw bone coloured silks transform into umber gold.

Jan’s work is Alchemy, the magic revealed on each page.

These textiles hold their own stories. Some evoking the shifting of the seasons, some whisper of the past. Some are ancient and monolithic – others quiet and intimate. Jan’s poetry serves the work, but leaves each piece open for personal reflection. Text is sparse, leaving each image to create its own narrative.

This is a beautiful book. On one level it tells the story of a maker, on other levels it speaks of place, and our relationship with the land, our history of settlement, shift, toil, beauty and loss. I urge you to take a look inside, and see what stories are revealed to you.


Earthworks by Jan Kilpatrick

Published in 2023 by Elphin Studio Press.

Original artwork and poetry by Jan Kilpatrick.

Photography by Ricky Frew.

Copies available through Jan’s on-line shop –

or from Ceàrd, Ullapool - @ceardcraft



Other Readers' Responses


Dear Jan,


I’ve been leafing through your book.  It’s a triumph.  I love all the photos and the text is inspiring.  All of it gives a real feel of your life up in Elphin.  And the cover also feels good which is unusual for a book.

It will be a very special book in my collection.  And very different from the history that dominates my shelves.

I do hope that you’ve been getting similar reactions from others.  You certainly deserve this.

Very well done, indeed.

All the very best and love from

Big Dave, Glasgow


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

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