The Colourful World of Kaffe Fassett
22 March – 2 November 2014
Celebrating the 50 year career of the American knitwear and textile designer who has been living in Britain since the 1960s.
'If in doubt, add twenty more colours' says Kaffe Fassett, whose highly vivid textile art made him a household name in the 1970s.
In 1968, Kaffe travelled to Scotland with fashion designer Bill Gibb and became fascinated by the hand-dyed woollen yarns he found there. On the train back he implored one of his companions to teach him to knit, but was yet to realise this new hobby might become a career.
It was American textile artist Liza Prior Lucy, who persuaded Kaffe to experiment further, taking his knitting patterns and making them into patchwork. Kaffe now travels the world, teaching and leading workshops, while also working as a painter, designer and author.
This display, curated by theatrical designer Johan Engels, includes 100 items spanning knitwear, needlepoint, beading and quilts, as well as mosaics and still-life paintings by Fassett, nearly all of which have been drawn from his personal collection.
Kaffe visited the American Museum shortly after he first moved to Bath 50 years ago and cites its display of antique quilts as one of his early inspirations. It was not only the block patterns that he found so intriguing but also the way colours and printed fabrics were used alongside one another.
Included in the display are drawings that Kaffe made of the museum's Period Rooms during one of his visits in 1964. These have never been exhibited to the public before and are a reminder that he began his career in the visual arts as a painter and illustrator.