Wednesday 27 February 2013

An evening with Kaffe Fassett

I recently had the opportunity to go to a lecture K. Fassett held at the City University in London. He gave a talk on colour that was organized by the 'Colour Group'  who are interested in aspects of colour - its perception, measurement, reproduction and artistic expression. They hold monthly meetings throughout the academic year and organize lectures on colour. I am not a member of this group but they do sound interesting.

Given that this is all about K. Fassett I should really pepper this post with images of colour and his creations but alas I won't. For one reason because I don't have any images of the slides he showed and I don't want to "grope" around the net to find similar ones. I will add a few images of my own K.Fasset creations but the main intent of this little post is to share with you what I learned from his lecture.

When I started quilting three years ago the first fabric I bought was K. Fassett and Philip Jacobs to make a baby quilts in colours or red and blue and like many other quilters I utterly fell in love with the vibrancy and intensity of his creations.

Luca's quilt

Since I made two more quilts entirely from K. Fasset fabric and several others where his fabrics feature amongst others. Although his colours are super intense and sometimes feel a little to much while working with them, I do always come back to K.Fasset fabrics. Frankly the 'Geranium' print in duck egg on the back of my 'Botanica' quilt is one of my all-time favorite prints.


So here is what I took away from the lecture:
  • Very few young people were at the lectures and most of the audience were around my age and upwards
  • There were five ladies sitting behind me knitting and having dead serious discussion about the knitting progress - somehow I thought that this little knitting group is not much fun....
  • K.Fassett sees colour everywhere and his slide show made me realize that we forget to see colour when we rush around going about our busy lives. He showed us slides mainly from his travels and really all had wonderful colour in them. I am sure he didn't go hunting for any of the images. This was normal everyday stuff; colorful plastic crates stacked up outside a shop, a market, house fronts, doors etc... I think the lesson to take away here is to be a bit more conscious when walking around and perhaps pause every now and then to "take colour" in
  • He is a professional in every sense of the word
  • He is driven and focused and I very much like that
  • He not only designs fabric and wool and makes quilts and knits. No he also makes mosaics, needlework tapestries (huge pieces !!) and paintings
  • He started of without colour. Yep, no colour, just white and neutrals. Colour eventually started to creep into his paintings until there was no holding bac
  • He is a fast worker and I like that even more. He was asked by somebody in the audience how he manages to make all these beautiful things and how many people he has helping him. His answer was: "I can do a lot in a day because I don't have a nagging husband and crying children". He added that he has of course people who work with him but that creating things himself is his job and he can dedicate all his time to it because he has got people who take care of everything else (computer, travel, admin...) Pretty cool I dare say and would that not be every quilter's dream ?
  • K. Fasset only hand stitches and hand knits, he does not use machines of any kind
  • He knows how to market himself but I found the super frequent mentioning of his books a little annoying
  • He's got a great sense of humor
  • K. Fasset is 75 years old and there is no sign of stopping him - now that is impressive
  • When he works with printers in the industry then the colour pallets he can use are often limited due to technical reason. He says that limitation can increase creativity
  • He was born around Big Sur in California which is near Carmel and Monterey and is absolutely gorgeous and I could not understand why he lives in the UK but he said he fell in love with the place when he visited Scotland the first time. The colour he saw there bowled him over. And that is actually true, Scotland in Summer is just something else.
  • I think the more grey he sees (and let's face it there are many shades of grey during our long winter) the more colour he sees and creates - it's part of his creative process
  • He loves vibrancy and contrast
  • He is not interested in colour theory or colour wheels or any of the theory around it (bit amusing given that he was presented with a medal for colour achievements by a group that seems to be very keen on colour wheels!)
  • K. Fassett lives with his partner Brandon in North London and together they travel the world which must be fantastic
Flowers and Stars


    1. He is amazing and so creative. Love his prints and designs. His autobiography is fascinating!

    2. what a wonderful opportunity x I am sure you will remember it for a LONG time x

    3. I so wanted to go and couldn't, he is such an inspiration. May be because he became so well known in the 80's that would explain the age of the audience?

    4. You are marvelous for sharing that with us! I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, to have been there! I have two of his books and pore over them very slowwwwly. He is Fabulous. Your quilts are beautiful that you've shown.

    5. He makes me think of a mad grandma; a brilliant mad grandma!

    6. Your Fassett quilts are lovely. Thank you very much for summarising this talk - it would have been nice to be there and reading this is the next best thing.

    7. Wow, i feel like I was there - great summary! Loving a bit of Kaffe colour in a grey February English afternoon! Thanks

    8. Oh what we could achieve without nagging husbands and children! But my life wouldn't be as good without them.

    9. I saw him this past weekend doing what must have been the same lecture! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I've heard him before and have taken a workshop with him a number of years ago. I continue to be impressed. And, hard to believe he's 75 - a very good looking man, I have to say! o:)


    Thank you for your comments! I love reading them and will answer every question you have on my projects. But I have a very busy daytime job and am therefore not able to thank each and every comment. Please don't be offended if I won't reply.