The Fabric of the Land

Dates: n/a

Location: Elphin near Ullapool

Course Places : n/a      

Price : n/a (residential)




autumn brew

This course is steeped, quite literally, in the slow and ancient processes of marking cloth through the combined use of time and found materials.  

We will start the week by collecting plant materials from my one acre garden: some for use in the magical process of eco-printing direct from plants and some for making into dye vats. Thereafter, we will gently bounce between the various stages of the processes of eco-printing onto cotton and paper, dyeing cloth and threads using natural dyes, drawing and painting with home-made crayons and inks and monoprinting with plant inks to make images inspired by the the glorious mountainous landscape of this area.  In addition, we will print with rust onto cotton using the discarded metal objects found in and around our house and garden: remnants of the lives of earlier settlers in this old crofting township of Elphin, in Assynt.  We will end one of the days around a bonfire, cooking up some natural dyes and telling tales of times gone by.

This is a course that relies upon the passage of time for the best results, so it will be gentle in pace. No experience is necessary, but it will be an opportunity for textile artists and enthusiasts to experiment with materials and recipes and to explore their relationship with the land in a most tactile and direct way.  The intention is that each participant will leave with a hand-bound recipe book of sample fabrics and useful methods for dyeing and printing cloth in a natural way.


All materials, refreshments and cooked lunches are included in the price.


“I found 'Fabric of the Land' fun, fascinating and inspiring.  The course was expertly designed and delivered.  Jan demystified  the dyeing processes with clear explanations and demonstrations, and she encouraged experimentation. Although a novice I produced dyed cloths I am proud of. “                                 

Maggie, Belfast


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

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