Thursday, 20 June 2013

Glorious Colour

I can't really remember a time when I didn't enjoy working with textiles. Knitting, crochet, sewing and embroidery feel like something I have always done. Yet it was when I first became aware of the work of Kaffe Fassett in the 1980s that I really started to feel passionate about textiles. I bought his first book, Glorious Knits and immersed myself in his love of colour and pattern.
I even started to knit that amazing jacket on the cover, but I am ashamed to say that it never got finished. A couple of years ago when I was sorting through bags of old projects I came across this half finished jacket and had a mind to finish it off but much of the remaining yarn had been eaten away by moths. Probably just as well as I never could wear yellow!

I did finish two little "Circus Star" sweaters for my two eldest boys though.

So as you can imagine I was excited to hear about the exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum "Kaffe Fassett, A Life in Colour" and yesterday Gill and I got to have a day out to see the exhibition. I had heard mixed reports about it, but we were not disappointed. There were fabulous knits...

Amazing patchworks...

Wonderful room sets filled with paintings, tapestries and quilts...

Lots of these brilliant beaded and buttoned caps (now on my "to do" list)

And some fascinating orginal paintings for textile designs.

It was a lovely day out, that we both enjoyed and my passion for Kaffe Fassett's work along with my own passion for colour and pattern has not diminished in the least. It was a really inspirational exhibition and I think the fact that not everything was finished perfectly made it all the more accessible. Which ties in quite nicely with what I've been teaching this week. I'm in the middle of a six week creative sketchbook class and this week we were looking at colour. After a little bit of colour theory we got to cutting and sticking.

And this was the result of my playing with colour... I'm thinking this would make a fun design for a tapestry cushion!


  1. it looks a wonderful exhibition. I had some of his books (and a tapestry I think too) in the 80s. I wish it was on for longer as I'd love to be able to get to it.

  2. looks like I have missed a good exhibition.

  3. I went to this exhibition and found it very inspiring. I just love the colour mixes and circle and spiral designs.

  4. Big fan of Kaffe here too!! I have all his books, his work is amazing! I would love to see the exhibition.
    I think your little play with colour is very Kaffe!
    V xxx

  5. Oh, you lucky girl -- to be able to go to the exhibition! All that beautiful color -- what a wonderful influence on your own gorgeous art!

  6. Such a shame that the moths got at your knitting - it's a lovely pattern. I love Kaffe Fassett's work too and his use of colour is sensational. I have several of his books and went to one of his lectures in Bath some years ago. Love your poppy head design.
    I made the Best Ever Chocolate Cake - it certainly is!

  7. Gina, thank you for sharing the deliciously colorful photos from the exhibit. I do like your poppies, too. Which stitch-to-the-inch/cm do you refer for tapestry?

    Color really can be Glorious, can't it? I think you could definitely do something with your "paused" sweater...maybe even felt it and make it into something totally different?

    The children's sweaters are terrific.


  8. I was so wanting to go to Kaffe's exhibition Gina but it's just not going to happen. Wait till I get out my photos of all my Kaffe knits! lol I've still got at least half a dozen hard backed knitting books with his knits. Didn't the jumpers for the boys turn out well. I would imagine the exhibition is his wonderful splash and fascinating combination of colour. Yes - the poppies would definitely make a wonderful tapestry cushion - I'm waiting...... lol

  9. Oh I am rather envious of your trip to see this exhibition. I adore Kaffe's use of colour and your use of it in your poppy design. It's so uplifting to see your pictures of the displays

  10. I had a go at 'freestyle knitting' in those days. I had 'Glorious Needlepoint' too and made a piece based on a Royal Doulton Plate. Then piano stool cover which was gorgeous but when I got to the boring border I never finished it! We are just about to chop the piano up!
    I'm very impressed with your little sweaters.

  11. Lovely. Tapestry needles for your birthday. Not!

  12. on my current post, there's a distant picture of me wearing a Kaffe Fassett Turkish Carnation pullover. In heavy cotton, I've worn it thru Swiss and South African in between weather. And I still have a guilty knitted but not sewn up project lurking!

  13. I went to a talk by Kaffe in Aberystwyth a few years ago now, just after he started getting into quilts, and there were some large ones on display. There's something about his love of colour that goes beyond understanding. Such a clever man. This post has reminded me that his knitting is on display locally at the Welsh Woollen Museum and I must round up my chums for a colourful day out or go and soak it up on my own and hope I get the same sort of motivation from it as you have! Great sketchbook pages too Gina.

  14. That looks like a fabulous day out - so we shall see a tapestry soon, love the sketch.

  15. That's so funny. I recently bought a used copy of that book and am planning to spin, dye, and knit the cover sweater after wondering for a few weeks which of the projects I like most. His work really stands the test of time!


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