A Garden of Stitches

Dates: n/a (mon - fri)

Location: Elphin by Ullapool

Course Places :  n/a              

Price : n/a


Tutors: Jan Kilpatrick




gardenstitchesmediumLearn how to translate the colours, shapes, patterns and textures of the garden into miniature textile works of art. 

Dipping in to the range of techniques Jan uses regularly in her own practice, you will learn how to take blank cloth through a number of processes - dyeing, printing, collage and stitching - each one contributing depth and patina to the finished work.

This week is based in my studio, which sits in an acre of garden, full of trees and flowers and which is semi-wild in its nature.  The first morning will be spent outside, photographing, sketching and collecting from the garden, using all our senses to build up impressions and personal associations related to the theme.

Once back at the studio, we will look through all this material and choose the most interesting to use as a basis for the rest of the week's work. The first afternoon will be filled with some warm-up techniques, helping you to become familiar with some of the materials and tools used by the textile artist.

Thereafter, on each morning you will learn a different technique for transferring colour and pattern to cloth. You will then experiment with these surfaces, by way of such techniques as cutting and layering, burning and fraying. The afternoons will be given over to further development of each little work by the use of stitch, both machine and hand, thereby raising the surface and increasing the intricacy of the marks that you make.  

By the end of the week, you will have a collection of beautiful little works, having captured the essence of the garden through your own personal interpretation.

All materials and equipment is supplied, though if you have your own camera or iPad, you will find it useful for the first day. Please bring your own sewing machine, along with the foot that allows for free stitching.  If that is not possilbe, please let me know well in advance so that I can provide one for your use for the duration of the course.

This course provides an introduction to a number of techniques for working in textiles and there is no assumption that the students have any experience of this type of work, including the sewing. In other words, the course is suitable for beginners, textile artists wanting to break out of their area of comfort, or artists working in another media who want to explore.  

Please click on an image to see the full picture.



Jan's studio is in Elphin, overlooking the magnificent mountains of Suilven, Canisp, Cul Mor and Cul Beag. This remote location means that accommodation is a little more difficult to find, but the experience of visiting this area makes the search well worthwhile. Many course participants opt to stay in Ullapool, which is 20 minutes drive away. It is a most picturesque fishing village, with a good range of accommodation to suit all budgets. There are many restaurants and takeaways and shops, as well as some evening entertainment, should you have any energy left at the end of that day's workshop. And students often group together and car share for their daily trip up the road, past Stac Pollaidh, to the studio. Please look at the Accommodation links page to find out more.

To read about an innovative community partnership approach to preserving and improving this landscape for the benefit of all, have a look at Coigach and Assynt Living Landscapes. To find out about the fascinating geology of this area go to North West Highland Geopark.


Email : info@jankilpatrick.co.uk    Tel : 01854 666279,   Postal Address : Jan Kilpatrick, Cul Mor, Elphin, By Lairg, Sutherland, IV274HH.  

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