Gemma Sangwine

Unique and bespoke millinery and hair accessories

Vibrancy of Colour

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I remember when I was younger seeing knitting patterns and tapestry kits for these amazing, colourful designs by an American guy with a funny name……when I went on to do textiles at school he popped up again in reference books and source material…… he was well regarded and influential, and continues to be so now, at the age of 77!

He is a world renowned textile designer and knitter, originally from California, he came to the UK in the 1960s, he is Kaffe Fassett.

KaffeFassettDIC_Page130Kaffee Fassett in front of the Jars Tapestry, with a couple of his knits from the 1980s. Image taken from his book ‘Dreaming in Colour’

And so it was that on a recent trip to Bath I, along with studio buddies Victoria & Nick, went to the American Museum in Britain to see the breathtaking exhibition The Colourful World of Kaffe Fassett. It was beautifully presented, all the walls had been painted in bright colours, the displays included personal ornaments and ephemera, to show what influenced his work, and they had recreated a corner of his studio, an area that I stood in front of for a good 20 minutes just taking it all in!

Kaffe Fassett exhibition Aug 2014Admiring the studio set up.

Kaffe Fassett exhibition Aug 2014 display cases

Kaffe Fassett exhibition Aug 2014 chairs

Kaffe Fassett exhibition Aug 2014.

So may visual references, such vibrancy and playful use of colour. We all came out uplifted and inspired, not least by his obviously great enthusiasm and passion for his work.

KaffeFassett

‘This is the grandest show of my career – every item is part of an intricate opera of colour. I have always wanted this approach to my work, but other museum designers and curators have steered me to a rather mixed approach in my exhibitions.

This show is so unique to me because it explains in a visceral way my growing obsession with the power of colour. My hope and conviction is that this exhibition at the American Museum in Britain will show the grey and beige clad young the sensual thrill of pure colour. I still feel vital! I want my message to come across in this mood altering show – I’m flying high on colour.

This show is closer to my desires than ever before in my many, many presentations around the world.’

(Kaffe Fassett, 12 March 2014)

The exhibition is on til the 2nd November. If you get a chance to see it, don’t hesitate, go! 

Author: Gemma Sangwine

I am designer & milliner based in the Cotswolds, UK. My work focuses on making quirky and wearable head wear and accessories from vintage, natural and recycled materials.

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