Friday, 30 May 2014

Kaffe Fassett at the American Museum in Bath

The American Museum in Bath is hosting an exhibition of Kaffe Fassett textiles and designs until 2 November 2014. We took a trip down over the bank holiday weekend to check out the show and visit friends in the Bath area. The show, called the Colourful World of Kaffe Fassett, was an excellent antidote to the dreary weather we've been experiencing lately.

Tree decorated with pompoms and lanterns
made from Kaffe Fassett fabric

Kaffe Fassett is a master colorist, working mainly in the medium of knitwear, quilts and needlepoint. He has had a long relationship with the American Museum, and the exhibition included several needlepoints and drawings based on pieces in the museum. The pieces on display were delightful: bright, intricate and inspiring; everything you would expect from Kaffe Fassett.

Recreation of Kaffee's working space? Some studio!

Warm reds

Moving on to the blue room

Making the most of contrast colours

Getting inspiration from Kaffe's swatches

complementary knitwear and quilt

Quilting, knitting, needlepoint and painting.
Is there anything Kaffe can't do?

I find Kaffe Fassett knitwear to be visually attractive, but not particularly appealing, or even wearable. The knitting requires fiddly techniques using too many colours to be practical. Also, the shapes are typically oversized 1980s - not my favourite style.

I was more drawn to the quilts and needlepoint. The quilts were mainly in wild, vibrant colours, and Kaffe has a whole line of quilt fabric, so it would be pretty easy to recreate the Fassett effect. The needlepoints often used more subtle tones. I'm very tempted to try to recreate some of the beautiful vegetables in purples and greens.

Vegetable tapestry

Beautiful beet needlepoint

Bringing the garden inside

Some of Kaffe's needlepoint patterns are available for sale from Ehrman Tapestry, but not the vegetables. If anyone knows where I could find them, please let me know!

And don't neglect to visit the rest of the museum (the only one dedicated to American craft outside the US), because there are other Kaffe Fassett treasures scattered throughout.

Flowers and fabric swatch