Episode 057: A Conversation on Colour with Kaffe Fassett

This week, Felicia speaks with Kaffe Fassett, a leading textiles designer and practitioner of contemporary crafts.  He has a loyal following of patchworkers, knitters and embroiderers all over the world.  A Californian by birth, he moved to the UK in 1964 where through a series of collaborations, he built his name and reputation.  He began by creating knitwear designs for Bill Gibb and Missoni.  He became a leading light in the knitwear revival of the 80s.

Further explorations led him to needlepoint, mosaics, rug-making, tapestries, fabric design, theatre design and quilting.  Kaffe Fassett’s first needlepoint design was commissioned by Pamela Lady Harlech for Lord Harlech.  His work has been collected by Barbra Streisand, the late Lauren Bacall, Ali McGraw, Shirley Maclaine and H.R.H. Princess Michael of Kent.

In 1988 he became the first living textile artist to have a one man show at the V&A Museum.  He has exhibited in countries including Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Canada, the USA and Iceland.  His autobiography was released in 2012 (Kaffe Fassett: Dreaming in Colour) followed by a retrospective of his work at the Fashion & Textiles Museum, London in 2013.

Kaffe has written many books on colour and design in craftwork.  Known and loved by quiltmakers across the world, his masterclasses are attended full to brimming.  He inspires people to work with colour in an instinctive way.

On Colour: “Colour is just one of those things… it changes my mood when I see a field of colours or a combination of colours. I’m transported. I become a different person.” — Kaffe Fassett

Felicia talks with Kaffe about his early life of creating art for his mother and where his inspiration for his multiple projects stems from. Kaffe’s charm and love of colour is contagious, so please join us for this conversation!

In this episode, we talk about:

  • 3:28 Kaffe’s experience with art school and his views on colour
  • 6:52 How to deal with the “grey-ness” of England
  • 9:10 Where Kaffe’s colour confidence comes from
  • 13:10 How Kaffe deals with boundaries and limitations on colour
  • 15:48 Being stuck in a colour rut
  • 17:30 Juggling multiple projects
  • 20:05 Talking about Kaffe’s multiple crafting skills. Does doing many kinds of art really make you a “jack of all trades, master of none”?
  • 23:43 What compels Kaffe to create
  • 27:00 How Kaffe keeps active
  • 29:28 Discussing Kaffe’s studio and how he keeps it peaceful in times of pressure and stress
  • 31:14 Asking Kaffe if there is anything he would change as he looks back on his long career
  • 32:14 Chatting about Kaffe’s future: his new book Quilts in Ireland and his solo exhibition at Mottisfont Abbey

Links and Things

Here’s where to find Kaffe:

Thanks for Listening!

Thank you so much for joining me this episode! If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with your fellow knitting friends. And if you like what I’m doing here, please leave a rating and review on iTunes for the show. I read each and every email and bit of feedback, whether it’s on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, so I welcome your comments.

If this discussion on colour has inspired you, but you are not as confident in colour as Kaffe is, please consider checking out our Colour Play course from the School of SweetGeorgia. This course walks you through the basics of colour theory and helps build your confidence in creating stunning palettes for your fibre art projects!

Thank you so much Kaffe for joining me. Until next time, enjoy colour!

Music Credits:

The Young and Beautiful – by Ivory Hours
Into Momentum – by Quality Quest

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About Felicia Lo

founder + creative director of SweetGeorgia // designer + dreamer // wife + mama // dyer, knitter, spinner, weaver, youtuber + author // been writing this blog about colour and craft since 2004 // see what I am making @lomeetsloom and @sweetgeorgia.

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