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Kaffe Fassett in the Studio: Behind the Scenes with a Master Colorist

Kaffe Fassett in the Studio – Behind the Scenes with a Master Colorist includes new quilting and knitting patterns and needlepoint projects.

Kaffe Fassett in the Studio is an in-depth look at the legendary designer’s creative output across multiple practices, including needlework, quilting and knitting, exquisitely photographed by Debbie Patterson.

With a collection of new quilting and knitting patterns and needlepoint projects, as well as never-seen-before photography of his London home, in this latest book, his bold sense of colour and his favourite designs will inspire your own creations at home.

“In my lectures and workshops, participants often ask about my house: can they visit? I have to discourage this – I’d never have time to do my work if I had to entertain visitors! So, I thought I would write a book that attempts to show my creative space and process.  This book aims to satisfy that curiosity about the flow of colour that comes from inside my house.

All textile making is just another way to play with colour that is at the same time deeply therapeutic to do. To sit at the end of my studio, surrounded by yarn or piles of fabric, and dream up a new design is what satisfies my soul.

I’ve been fascinated by the different patterns and colour palettes mingling together in cultures – with that love of pattern, I’ve created strong patterns across multiple practices, including needlepoint, quilting and knitting and invite you into my Colour Lab”.

Features Color Photographs by Debbie Patterson

About the Author

Kaffe Fassett
was born in San Francisco in 1937. Kaffe started as a fine artist, winning a scholarship to study at The Boston Museum of Fine Arts School when he was nineteen. He left after three months to paint in London, and he still continues to exhibit his paintings. After settling in England in 1964, his passion for colour led him to knitting and designing knitwear for Missoni and Bill Gibb amongst others, and his hand-knitted garments are now in museum collections all over the world. He later took up needlepoint and patchwork, creating both his own works and designs for others to make.

Kaffe ventured into the world of colourful yarn on a visit to a Scottish wool mill with fashion designer Bill Gibb. Inspired by the colours in the landscape, Kaffe was thrilled to find the same colours in yarns. He bought 20 colours of Shetland wool and some knitting needles, and on the train back to London a fellow passenger taught him how to knit. His first design appeared as a full page spread in Vogue Knitting magazine.

In 1969, Kaffe was asked to design a garment for a large colour page feature in British Vogue, photographed by David Bailey. From this, in the 1970s he collaborated with Missoni, designing their textile knitwear patterns in Italy, which were sold worldwide. Kaffe’s unique garments have been commissioned and collected by Barbra Streisand, Lauren Bacall, John Schlesinger, Ali McGraw, Irene Worth, Shirley Maclaine, Helen Frankenthaler, Alan Bergman and H.R.H. Princess Michael of Kent, to name but a few.

The multi-coloured, complex knitwear designs created by Kaffe, became one of Scottish designer Bill Gibb’s trademarks. Vogue’s Beatrix Miller chose one of Bill Gibb’s designs as the 1970 Dress of the Year, which included a Fassett hand-knitted waistcoat, showing that traditional textile handicrafts had become an acceptable aspect of mainstream fashion. Fassett and Gibb worked together through to the end, collaborating on Gibb’s final collection in 1985.

Kaffe has also been interviewed countless times on national television and radio programmes such as ‘Richard and Judy’ for ‘This Morning’; ‘The Bazaar’ TV series; ‘Chelsea Flower Show Live’; ‘Collectors Lot’; ‘The Homes Show’ and ‘Through the Keyhole’, and for Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’ and ‘Desert Island Discs’ with Sue Lawley.

Kaffe has participated in various exhibitions and solo shows over the years; though it was in 1988, when Kaffe became the first living textile artist to have a one-man show at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The exhibition attracted such crowds that the Museum doubled attendance figures during the run and the exhibition toured to nine countries: Finland, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Canada, USA and Iceland (where 5% of the total population attended).