Sunday, 12 May 2013

Kaffe Fassett at The Fashion and Textile Museum

Yesterday, I met some of my fellow City & Guilds knitters at The Fashion and Textile Museum on Bermondsey St, near London Bridge - no rail engineering works this week thank goodness - I've been so looking forward to this visit.

Can't miss this orange and pink edifice!

The Museum was set up 10 years ago by Zandra Rhodes.  She felt there was a need for a place to showcase contemporary craft and provide associated education.

A Zandra Rhodes poster design featuring London landmarks

'Kaffe Fassett, A Life in Colour' is currently showing and it is stunning.  I was surprised to learn that Fassett started out painting still lives in delicate monochromes - beiges, creams, greys.  It was only when he left art school in the US and came to London in the 60's to settle that he discovered colour in a big way.  He used treasures that he found in Portobello Road in his paintings which formed the basis for his textile crafts.

Craft is where his passion lies and includes knitting, needlepoint and quilting.  The knitting came about after a trip to Scotland, looking at the landscape and visiting a mill where he could buy yarns in the colours he observed.  A friend taught him how to knit on the rail journey home and his first project was a multi-striped cardigan.

Kaffe's first knitting project

Later designs include triangular shapes which allowed a move away from 'linear' pattern.  The exhibition has many examples of his knitting through the years.  His influences can be as diverse as the Orient through to typically English horticulture and seed catalogues.

Displays also include beautifully stitched needlepoint chair coverings, cushions, slippers and waistcoats.

Quilts hang from the walls and there is a 'feeling' wall where visitors are encouraged to touch the fabric strips and discover for themselves the pleasure of working with cloth.

'Feeling' wall

There are three rooms full of exhibits and a video to watch, so plenty to see and all in all, a wonderful experience and exhibition.  I am still buzzing!

Afterwards, I had the chance to chat with some of my fellow students and discuss my progress with Loraine, my knitting tutor.  What a fab day out!

Loraine's photo from her website 
Loraine (blonde lady) teaching

I saw 'The Shard' too!  Right next to London Bridge.... actually, it now reminds me of the triangular shapes Fassett uses in his knitwear designs! 

The Shard


  1. WOW< he is so amazing! what a wonderful time.

  2. It was - it's a must for anyone in London. I've got a ticket to see him give a talk in a couple of weeks time too. So looking forward to hearing what he has to say.


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