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Kaffe Fassett

    London Life Exhibitions

    kaffe fassett – a life in colour

    June 17, 2013

    If ever i was late to a party it’s this one.


    The exhibition, at the fashion and textile museum, (ftm) is running from 22 march until 29 june. I’ve managed to give those of you who would like to visit a week and a half’s notice. Oopss! This has been in my diary since the middle of march, can you believe it? Oh well, i made it just in time, does that count?

    I first came across kaffe fassett at a talk and book signing he held in the early 90’s in john lewis. At that time i was already heavily influenced by missoni. It was refreshing to meet a textile designer/artist who had embraced colour and patterns to the fullest. To top it, he made a living out of it while travelling the world to seek inspiration. Fab!



    For me, except for the work displayed, a well curated exhibition is the most important aspect. This one, co-curated by sue timney, did not disappoint! Interestingly, sue is known for her monochrome and very graphic designs. I think the combination here worked really well and framed the rather diverse range of contemporary craft kaffee is known for.

    I also felt, the ftm was exactly the right venue to celebrate kaffe’s 50 years of textile art.

    My absolutely favourite part of a retrospective is the early years, the sketchbooks, the personal belongings, family photographs et cetera. This did not disappoint, albeit too dark to photograph.



    I’m going to be bold here and say i have a love/hate relationship with kaffe’s work. It’s more of an acquired taste. As a colour and patterns enthusiast i have huge admiration for the sheer volume, attention to detail and diverse use of materials in his work. I don’t love everything, but there is no doubt that upon entering the main space you are greeted with an abundance of everything that crafts, textiles and colours have to offer. A sheer feeling of ‘wow’!



    Here’s a selection of some of the quilting, knitting, needlepoint, mosaic and fabric swatches that stood out for me. I also liked some of his paintings.














    What struck me most is the sheer energy and vibrancy of the work. I was transported back to the 90’s, to that very first talk, and realised that this man lives with constant inspiration. How wonderful is that? His constant worldwide travel is well documented and i found myself wanting to hop on a plane with immediate effect.

    There is a streaming video at the exhibition. I opted to buy the dvd and watch it when in need for inspiration.
    Kaffe’s colour quest – kaffe fassett travels to india and vietnam seraching for inspiration for his textiles costs £15 from the museum’s shop.

    What do you think of kaffe fassett’s work? Are you a colour and patterns enthusiast?