Kaffe Fassett, an accomplished painter and designer of textiles, is widely acknowledged as a visionary in the use of color. He is the author of 15 books, a fabric designer & knitwear designer for Rowan, and was honored in 1988 to become the first living textile designer to be given a one-person show at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Kaffe Fassett: Dreaming in Color: An Autobiography. STC Craft/A Melanie Falick Book (September 15, 2012).
Many people ask me, a 6’3” Californian man, how I got started in the world of textiles, how I got my name and above all, how I made so many things work in my favor. It was high time to write a book that outlined my most improbable career – from painter to avid knitter, needle point and patchworker designer.
The hardest thing was deciding how to approach the book. What do I leave out, what to include and try to explain it all. It was a nightmare at first, but as I got into it with the help of two editors I found myself really drawn into the great romp that is the last 45 years of my textile career. I had kept dozens of diaries, which was amazing to re-read after so many years. Unfortunately I cared little for details, like dates, so some whole sections didn’t even mention a year, let alone a month or day. But somehow the people I’ve worked with for years were able to piece it all together and the extraordinary Internet answered so many questions, like dates of events that ran alongside my crazy life.
Inevitably jamming 74 years into 200-plus pages meant a great selection process had to take place and many amusing stories had to go, but I do feel that the main thrust of the pattern of luck, that allowed me to bring my ideas to so many across the world, is there on the pages. It was a daunting experience to be sure and it was over a year till I could write again with confidence in my diary. I sort of felt I completed my life when the book went off after the last proof reading.
The best thing for me is the almost 500 illustrations showing my work and the influences of art and travel that inspired most of it. The book turns out to be homage to the great Steve Lovi, who not only photographed 5 of my books including our first book, Glorious Knits, but also taught me most of what I needed to get my career started. Steve died in his early 70’s just as Dreaming in Color was being completed. I was able to show a portrait I painted of him and state what his life meant to me. I hope those who read my book will have their questions answered and will be inspired to go on making their own creative textiles. The book is bursting with color, which has always been my magic talisman – so don’t be shy about using lots of it.