Kaffe's Press Room

The American Museum in Britain, Bath

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BATH, England — The colors — blue, green, yellow, pink, purple — are bright enough to trounce the spring daffodils. And that is just referring to the vivid knitting that dresses up the garden lamps and the madcap decoration of multicolored pompoms dangling from an ancient tree.

The entrance to "The Colorful World of Kaffe Fassett," on display at the American Museum in Britain until Nov. 2, is an explosion of joyful hues on a green hillside outside Bath.

Inside, it is even more dramatic: the deep blue of Turkish tiles inspiring a patchwork rug; a glazed blood-red Chinese vase alongside Mr. Fassett's scarlet craft works, and patterns of green vegetables woven on cushions or printed digitally onto a plastic floor covering.

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Suzy Hausfrau Podcast

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While recently in Australia on a workshop tour, Kaffe chatted to Renae Beardmore from Suzy Hausfrau for their podcast.

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Also available to download on iTunes This link opens in a new window

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The Telegraph: My space: Kaffe Fassett, textiles designer

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This is the sitting room of my house in Kilburn, north London, an Edwardian four-and-a-half storey house. I just had one floor to start with in 1964, and bought the other floors as I was able to afford them.

This house is like an old shoe. It is part living space, and part workshop; I don't make a delineation between living and working space. I've heard the theory of people not wanting to live where they work, or not getting on with colleagues. But...

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Build color confidence into your artwork - article by Jennifer Forker

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Artists and craftspeople know that the colors they choose - and leave out - are critical ingredients in their works' success, no matter the medium. Color done well is captivating. Color done badly? It's just bad. Or drab.

Yet a color tweak may be all it takes to turn up a piece's vibrancy and magic. An eye for color is both intuitive and learned, say the experts.

Kaffe Fassett has spent a lifetime experimenting. The septuagenarian is exuberant with color in his embroidery, knitting and fabric designs. He's known for bold florals, fruits and vegetables, and geometric shapes — in sweaters, knitted coats and needlepoint. The author of 15 books, his latest, "Kaffe Fassett Quilts: Shots and Stripes" (Amazon USA This link opens in a new window / UK This link opens in a new window), goes minimal with vibrant swaths of color — a simplicity that's a stretch for him....

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The Washington PostABC NewsSan Francisco ChronicleConnecticut PostTimes ColonistFlorida Today

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Elle Italia: Il pittore della maglia

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Ricamo, patchwork, quilt: non conosce limiti la gioiosa esplorazione del colore di Kaffe Fassett. Una mostra a Londra celebra la sua arte, fatta di istinto, pazienza, passione. E del piacere del fare.

La parola "tricot", con quella erre dolce, non gli si addice. La com- battiva "knit" invece - ti sembra di sentire i ferri che si scontrano, come le lance in un duello di cavalieri - è perfetta. Non vi inganni il sorriso da divo hollywoodiano di Kaffe Fassett, 75 anni, guru assoluto del lavoro a maglia, del piccolo punto e del patchwork. Mister Fassett, nei circoli internazionali del knitting, è vissuto come una rockstar, come un Mick Jagger della lana shetland: non ha un attimo di tregua, è "relentless", senza sosta, nonostante - assicuri - le arti decorative gli ab- biano regalato la gioia del qui e ora, dell'appagamento che viene dal bel- lo. «Prima, non riuscivo a stare solo con me stesso, cercavo la compagnia altrui ma non riuscivo a trovarmi»...

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Kaffe Fassett Dreaming in Color

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Kaffe Fassett has led an extraordinary life and is a captivating storyteller with a vivid memory. Born in 1937, he spent much of his youth in Big Sur, California, where his parents bought a cabin from Orson Welles and transformed it into the world-famous Nepenthe restaurant, a gathering place for artists and bohemians.

After attending a boarding school run by the disciples of Krishnamurti, an Indian guru, he studied painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, then traveled to England, where he made his home. After an inspiring trip to Inverness, Scotland, Fassett began designing knitwear for Bill Gibb, and then the Missonis, Vogue magazine, and private clients like Lauren Bacall and Barbra Streisand, and, in the process...

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Daughters of Norway: Kaffe Fassett & Brandon Mably Interview

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BM: The reason the book's called Quilts in Sweden is we shot the quilts at a most amazing location called Skansen, it's a museum of outdoor houses that have been brought together in one area at the edge of Stockholm, and it was the colors and the surroundings....

KF: It was the painted rooms that I really went for. Ambiance for our quilts.

KC: Did those rooms in any way influence the designs of the particular quilts that you made for that project?

KF: Yes, actually, they did; I had been there a few times and I really noticed that there were a lot of really wonderful wood tones, a lot of those sort of ambers and woody tones, as well as the painted furniture and the painted walls. So, we knew we had a pretty free reign because there were so many moods...

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Quilt Magazine : In Praise of Old Age

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In our celebrity obsessed western culture, youth and glamour seem to dominate our sense of what is desirable. Women particularly complain of disappearing if they go grey. Men suffer this too, though to a lesser degree. I say "western cultures" because in other parts of the globe like Japan there is real respect and curiosity for the old.

I come from California where there is so much masking of age; it's really hard to tell how old anyone is. You'd have to start looking for physical signs in areas of body that are harder to disguise. This subject is getting more poignant to me as I enter my 70's, not so much in the changes in me but because if the amazing examples I see of greatness in my older friends.

In my quilt workshops I always seem to meet two or three women in their 80s who confidently plough on with personal and original color arrangements that take my breath away. They often change the concept of the quilt we are working on in such a way that I could never do it again. That makes teaching rewarding indeed.

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Making Magazine : Kaffe Fassett, Interview with Rosie Brown

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What has happened to my eyes? I have the peculiar feeling that nothing is ever going to look the same again. I have just left the house of the quilter cum knitter, painter, rug-maker and mosaic master Kaffe Fassett, an artist widely considered to be a guru of colour, of all things bright and beautiful.

Earlier, on my way from the Tube to his house, rainy old Kilburn looked like any other part of northwest London, which had caused me to quiz him on why he's settled here in the old smoke, when he could be 'back home' on the stunning Pacific Coast in California. His answer didn't quite satisfy me: 'I want to be in Europe. I'm a European. This is where my heart is – in the old world.'

Okay, I thought, but this still doesn't quite explain why Kilburn. But now I think I get it. Having spent a couple of hours in Kaffe's studio and home engulfed by colour and pattern – flowers, fabric, mosaics, needlepoint, wool, quilts, rugs, tiles, Buddhas, paintings, china, wallpaper – I realise that Kaffe thrives on the beauty of whatever is around him.

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American Quilter, November 2010: Big Prints, Big Impact

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It puzzles me when I'm asked, "How do you use large prints in quilts " because the obvious answer to me is, "You cut them up and sew them. " But there are some tips and tricks for successfully incorporating gorgeous large-scale prints in your work.

When quilters are asked why they collect large-scale prints but rarely cut them up, replies include, "I have a hard time making a cohesive design using big prints " or "When you slash across a big rose, for example, you can no longer see the rose " or "It seems like a disservice to the fabric to cut it up. " One of the easiest ways to get past these roadblocks is to use big prints as the featured elements. In Kaffe Fassett's new design called MEXICAN PARTY, the largest scale prints are framed by pieced borders that feature smaller scale designs. The big prints retain their design integrity.

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American Quilter, November 2010: It's a Colorful Life

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The man doesn't own a BlackBerry® and he doesn't work on a computer. As an artist he does everything by hand—knitting, painting, quilting, and more. His London home is a 4½-story Edwardian house with a garden. When he ventures out for a trip (around the city or around the world), he mostly takes public transportation because he doesn't drive and never has.

One might think he is somehow stuck out of time, but this is Kaffe Fassett, one of the world's foremost fiber artists and designers, whose influence is shaping quilting as effectively as it has knitting, needlepoint, and home décor.

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Let's Knit Magazine, March 2008

"I was born in California in a coastal community of artists and pioneering types. My parents built a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired restaurant 800 feet above the Pacific Ocean.

Though it was isolated community, I was encouraged to express my artistic side, so painted, danced and did drama. I got a scholarship to a good old fashioned art school in Boston so lived and studied there for a few years before visiting London for a 3 month vacation. More than 40 years later I find myself still here mainly because I discovered knitting yarns in a mill in Inverness and got a fellow passenger to teach me to knit on the train ride back to London. I put all 20 colours of Shetland yarns I had purchased in the same sweater and took it straight to Vogue Magazine to ask them if they would be interested in featuring it. Reticent English, I wasn't!!

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Focus on Kaffe Fassett, Women's Weekly, April 2008

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Focus on Kaffe Fassett, Women's Weekly, April 2008

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Kaffe Fassett is one of the most influential living textile artists and the best selling author of knitting, mosaic and patchwork titles. He has hosted his own TV series, Glorious Colour, and was the first living textile artist to have a one man show at London's V&A. His extraordinary passion and insatiable appetite for colour is apparent whatever medium he uses, whether he is painting, knitting, creating patchwork, needlepoint or mosaics, Kaffe perceives all his work in the same way - as the opportunity to play with colours and patterns.

Hailing from sunny California, he began his training as a fine artist in Boston, before moving to London to paint in the mid sixties. His first venture into textiles was knitting. On a trip to a Scottish woollen mill with celebrated fashion designer of the time, Bill Gibb, Kaffe was inspired by the colours in the landscape and, finding the same colours at the mill in Shetland wool, he bought some yarn and knitting needles. A passenger on the train back to London taught him how to knit and the rest is history!

His first design had the ultimate accolade of appearing in Vogue. Within a short time, Missoni was commissioning his commercial collections and celebrities were clamouring for his one-off creations.

Over the years, his talents have diversified but not diluted. His vibrant and characteristic designs look fabulous whether they're stitched in needlepoint on canvas, pieced together in patchwork as quilts, or as designs in mosaics.

For many Years, Kaffe has worked closely with Rowan Yarns in Yorkshire to produce designer patterns to inspire hand-knitters.

A major part of his output is now an expanding range of fabric prints for the patchwork markets.

Each design and colourway in the fabric range is a delight. You only have to look at a small selection of his patchwork designs, shown here, to be stunned by their vivacity and profusion of pattern. But if you examine them you'll only find simple arrangements of squares, diamonds and triangles - it's the colour that brings them alive.

With a diary that's full of books to write, lecture tours involving slide talks and workshops on colour in design, which take him all over the world, Kaffe's thirst for creative inspiration is never-ending.

Kaffe Fassett is one of the most influential living textile artists and the best selling author of knitting, mosaic and patchwork titles. He has hosted his own TV series, Glorious Colour, and was the first living textile artist to have a one man show at London's V&A. His extraordinary passion and insatiable appetite for colour is apparent whatever medium he uses, whether he is painting, knitting, creating patchwork, needlepoint or mosaics, Kaffe perceives all his work in the same way - as the opportunity to play with colours and patterns.

Hailing from sunny California, he began his training as a fine artist in Boston, before moving to London to paint in the mid sixties. His first venture into textiles was knitting. Click on the picture to read more


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Kaffe's Article in Vogue Knitting International

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Kaffe Fassett is known for his signature knitwear designs: intricate intarsias and elaborate patterns rendered in layers of glorious colour. But VK readers may not know that Kaffe's unique sense of colour and design has inspired legions of devoted fans-and brought him recognition worldwide as an expert on colour and craft. "I'm a painter, knitter, quill needle artist and designer", he says, "but my approach to every discipline is the same-manipulating pattern and seeing how colour comes alive in different forms".

Until age 28, Kaffe devoted his life to painting. Born in San Francisco, he won a scholarship to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston at age 19-but left after three months to paint in London, where he took up residence in 1964.

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An Article on Kaffe & Liza Prior Lucy in QuiltWorks Today Magazine

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Driving out of New York City, Liza Prior Lucy was entering the Lincoln Tunnel when she braked to a screeching halt. After 15 minutes in standstill traffic, her impatience flared: "The only thing I could see were the glaring red taillights of the truck in front of me!", but she found her passenger's reaction far more memorable. Completely relaxed, Kaffe Fassett was gazing at a tattered old poster. He recalls, "Its multilayers of peeling paint mesmerized me. They formed an intricate pattern that looked like a single encrusted texture that was beautiful".

This incident, the first of many lessons in observation that Kaffe would give Liza, occurred in 1985 when they were barely acquainted. "He always has his eyes open to the world around him", she declares. The learning has been reciprocal because Kaffe describes Liza as a great teacher who has taught him how to teach. Now that they work together, Kaffe's expertise in design is combined with Liza's outstanding quilting and teaching skills. By recognizing their distinct talents and backgrounds, one can more fully appreciate the brilliance of their collaborative work.

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A Review of 'Pattern Library'

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Enrich your favourite knitwear by dipping your needles into the palette of painterly knitwear designer, Kaffe Fassett

Published in time for Christmas, but intended as a companion for life, this is a new book from the original master of colour and pattern.

Tall and still strikingly handsome, Kaffe Fassett's looks and his creative energy belie his65 years. He led the way into his light, bright front room and sat on the floor on a pile of his cushions in the bay window, beneath his collection of lucky Buddhas. He explained to me, "'Pattern Library' has taken 3 years to compile. It harks back to my earliest knitting motifs, featuring designs for the Italian fashion house Missoni, Scottish fashion designer Bill Gibb and The Peruvian Connection. Every design in the book is done in basic stocking stitch, so even beginners can jump in and unleash their creativity, choosing colours and making their own personal combinations".

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The Kaffe Fassett Studio Newsletter

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From time to time Kaffe Fassett Studio produces a short newsletter detailing what's new at Studio - such as new books, new patterns and designs, updated workshop schedules and upcoming shows.

Read the latest newsletter on this page.

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Real Men Knit DVD

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If men can cook, garden and change diapers - why can't they knit? Real Men Knit might change your views on this ancient craft invented by men and will introduce you to a wide range of guys who knit - and are proud of it.

It's hard to believe it was men that started the knitting craze! Real Men Knit will take you from the past...

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Mailing list

From time to time Kaffe Fassett Studio produces a short newsletter detailing what's new at Studio - such as new books, new patterns and designs, updated workshop schedules and upcoming shows. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for the newsletter, please submit your email address below.

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