Curator Talk, Kaffe Fassett: The Power of Pattern

Meet the artists and curators behind the upcoming exhibition Kaffe Fassett: The Power of Pattern in this illustrated panel discussion.

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Meet the artists and curators behind the upcoming exhibition& Kaffe Fassett: The Power of Pattern in this illustrated panel discussion chaired by Head of Exhibitions, Dennis Nothdruft.

Kaffe Fassett’s inspiration comes from everything around him; his inimitable eye can translate the most everyday of details into the base for one of his colourful, sophisticated maximalist designs. Hear how Kaffe’s vision for the exhibition became a reality, from bespoke designs for posters, an optical floor covered with tumbling blocks to the fabric-clad walls. The panel will discuss how Kaffe’s designs are used and interpreted by quilters around the globe and how they selected the works of over 15 international quilters and makers to be featured in the exhibition.

About the panel

Kaffe Fassett moved to the UK in 1964 where through a series of collaborations, he became a leading textiles designer, crusader for colour and practitioner of contemporary crafts. He began by creating knitwear designs for Bill Gibb and Missoni and became a leading light in the knitwear revival of the 80s. Further explorations led him to needlepoint, mosaics, rug-making, tapestries, fabric design, theatre design and patchwork.

Kaffe has dedicated the last 50 years of his life to the world of knitting, needlepoint and patchwork, promoting these crafts through his own work and encouraging others to find their own creativity. He has produced over 50 publications from ‘how to books’ to colour in design and his biography in 2012. He tours internationally giving workshops, lectures and museum exhibitions. Kaffe and fellow fabric designers Brandon Mably and Philip Jacobs, together make up the Kaffe Fassett Collective for FreeSpirit Fabrics. In 2018, Kaffe was awarded an Honorary MBE in recognition of his services to the crafts of knitting and needlework.

Brandon Mably has organised the running of the Kaffe Fassett Studio for over 30 years. It was here where Fassett trained him to knit, needlepoint, hook rag rugs, and grout mosaics. An inspiring teacher, Mably began travelling the world with Fassett doing workshops. Exotic locales such as Africa, Iceland, Guatemala, and India filled his designer's eye with inspiration and an explosion of colour and pattern. An avid and enthusiastic teacher, Mably has learned that most people have buried in them a sense of colour and design. This helps his students discover the design sensibility that continues to inspire and motivate Mably's work today.

Since taking over the teaching of knit workshops from Fassett, he has taught throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, France, Germany, and the UK.

Teresa Collenette is assistant curator of Kaffe Fassett: The Power of Pattern. She is a design historian specialising in the history of scissors. A graduate of the Royal College of Art/Victoria and Albert Museum History of Design Masters programme, she has worked on a number of Fashion and Textile Museum exhibitions including The World of Anna Sui, Liberty in Fashion, 1920s Jazz Age, T-Shirt: Cult Culture Subversion, and Beautiful People: The Boutique in 1960s Counterculture, both in house and on tour.

Dennis Nothdruft (chair) is Head of Exhibitions at the Fashion and Textile Museum. He has led the exhibitions team at the Museum since it was founded by Zandra Rhodes in 2003 and previously spent many years working as a design assistant in Zandra Rhodes studios in both San Diego and London. He has lectured widely on many aspects of fashion and textiles and has authored several books including Zandra Rhodes: 50 Fabulous Years in Fashion, How to Draw Like a Fashion Designer, How to Draw Vintage Fashion and Kaffe Fassett: the Artist’s Eye.

Kaffe Fassett: The Power of Pattern is accompanied by the book Kaffe Fassett: The Artist’s Eye by Head of Exhibitions, Dennis Nothdruft and is available to pre-order via our online shop.

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