In a nutshell, his parents had a very cosmopolitan restaurant at Big Sur on the Californian coast which attracted foreign visitors from afar. This inspired him in turn to travel, ending up in England, where he loved the 'oldness'. He was brought up Bohemian and taught himself about art and design from museums, after finding art school too restrictive. He started out with still lives because he didn't want to be an outdoor painter. Initially these were white but he became inspired by the pattern on pattern that he saw in the V&A Museum. Portobello Road was his other great inspiration. He met Bill Gibb by accident and discovered yarn and knitting through him. This progressed into 'celtic' designs that he'd seen in the British Museum. He was then discovered by Missoni, who invited him to design for them - his only knowledge of Italian was the names of colours - and began selling in Bloomingdales. He came across patchwork quilts while researching knitting and his enthusiasm for fabric was spotted by Oxfam, which led to a print design project. He was wearing a shirt from this collaboration.
So here he is, with his studio manager Brendon Mably - this is the only decent shot I have, as I suffered from camera shake through being starstruck!
He signed my book and asked 'little ole me' how I spelt my name, one 'n' or two? An 'e' on the end? Wow!
These are some of the quilts he brought along, featured in the book, 'Shots and Stripes'.
It's inspired me to get on with the patchwork squares I found at the exhibition ...