Fashion and Textile Museum Presents Kaffe Fassett - a Life in Colour

by FrancesSpiegel

Major exhibition in London showcases designs by Kaffe Fassett, one of the world's most important contemporary textile designers.

The world-renowned designer and craftsman Kaffe Fassett is the subject of an exhibition at the Fashion & Textile Museum. Fassett is one of the giants of the contemporary design world creating gloriously colourful patchworks, quilts, needlepoint, knitwear and fabrics much coveted by his devoted fans.

The setting for Kaffe Fassett – A Life in Colour has been designed by interior and textile designer Sue Timney. This is the first major exhibition of Fassett's work to take place in London since he took the world by storm with his block-buster exhibition at the V&A Museum in 1988, which attracted record numbers of visitors.

Kaffe Fassett – About the Artist

A Colourful Personality

Kaffe Fassett's inspiration may well be rooted in his childhood in Big Sur, California. He and his family were well acquainted with authors, musicians and celebs like Joan Baez, Jack Kerouac and Steve McQueen.


Born in 1937 in San Francisco, Fassett is a skilled painter and textile designer. His work has appeared in exhibitions around the world as well as in numerous gallery shows. Kaffe is on a continuing mission to share his skills with beginners and skilled craftspeople and spends up to five months every year travelling the world and giving lectures.


Kaffe Fassett is the author of more than sixty books about knitting, needlepoint, quilting and patchwork design, and his autobiography Kaffe Fassett – Dreaming in Colour has recently been published by Stewart Tabori & Chang to coincide with this exhibition. I recently reviewed this book and interviewed Kaffe at the Fashion & Textile Museum in London. When I asked Kaffe if more men and boys should take up knitting he said definitely because men have a good sense of pattern and structure. 

Kaffe Fassett Portrait September 2009

© Kaffe Fassett Studio
Kaffe Portrait September 2009
Kaffe Portrait September 2009

Highlights of the Exhibition

Colour, Colour, and Then More Colour

Kaffe Fassett – A Life in Colour showcases several items designed specially for the exhibition together with several items not shown in public before.


Knitting seems to be undergoing a bit of a resurgence at the present time. I'm a keen knitter. My mother and her mother were both experienced knitters, but none of us would attempt any of Kaffe's complex and multi-coloured designs.


More than 100 of those creations are featured in this exhibition. Examples range from fabrics, throws, needlepoint, quilts and patchworks to furniture, soft furnishings, and clothing, such as the Steve Lovi Cardigan (January 2012), and the Medalion Kimono from the Peruvian Collection (April 2012).


What brings this exhibition alive is the 'feeling' wall where visitors can examine samples of different fabric and see how they were constructed and what they feel like.

Steve Lovi Cardigan Copy January 2012 © Kaffe Fassett Studio

© Kaffe Fassett Studio
Steve Lovi Cardigan Copy January 2012
Steve Lovi Cardigan Copy January 2012

Handknit Medalion Kimono - Peruvian Collection April 2012

© Kaffe Fassett Studio
Handknit Medalion Kimono - Peruvian Collection April 2012
Handknit Medalion Kimono - Peruvian C...
© Kaffe Fassett Studio

Visit the Exhibition


Kaffe Fasset – A Life in Colour will be on open from 22nd March to 29th June 2013.  The museum, located at 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF, is open Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-6pm. Tickets (including concessions) and further information can be obtained from the Fashion & Textile Museum.


Crafty Things to Do


Getting there...

Updated: 01/23/2023, FrancesSpiegel
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FrancesSpiegel on 03/11/2013

Thank you - I hope to have a lot more information to add to the article next week after meeting Kaffe again.

EliasZanetti on 03/11/2013

Interesting post for all of the creative minds of this world... Thanks for sharing.

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