Long Thread Podcast: Kaffe Fassett, Artist & Color Master

Season 8, Episode 7: Whether he’s working on a quilt, sweater, needlepoint canvas, or fabric design, Kaffe Fassett sees the world in a million glorious hues.

Anne Merrow Jan 13, 2024 - 3 min read

Long Thread Podcast: Kaffe Fassett, Artist & Color Master Primary Image

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Kaffe Fassett doesn’t play favorites in his work—he doesn’t have a favorite medium, and he definitely doesn’t have a favorite color. What he has is a powerful delight in combining the simple elements of color, line, and image, and a passion for helping other people share in that joy.

For someone whose career is inextricably linked to stitching, his needlework techniques are surprisingly simple. “I’m never interested in technical acrobatics,” he says. “I think that color is what is fabulous, and you know, a beautiful image that has beautiful colors doesn’t need to go any further.” Some of his best-known work layers brightly colored cotton fabrics of his own design into patchwork quilts, which he takes to beautiful locations to photograph. Yet one of the textiles he’s excited about is a vintage patchwork quilt top worked in diamonds and squares, with striking contrasts placed next to soothing harmonies.

Brightly colored quilt of squares and diamonds Kaffe Fassett loves the bold colors and strong contrasts in this historic quilt from his collection. Photo courtesy of Kaffe Fassett Studio

Kaffe’s work has expanded into so many formats in part because of a series of remarkable collaborations, both with companies (including Rowan, FreeSpirit Fabrics, and Peruvian Connection) and other artists. When sharing ideas or teaching, particularly with partner Brandon Mably, the enjoyment of seeing the spark of creative understanding in someone else is part of the joy. “That's what I would say to people: you know, the first thing is, get friends who are sympathetic to your dream. Try to find somebody who’s going to encourage you rather than discourage you.”

As the first living textile artist to have a show at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Kaffe’s artwork is valued and renowned the world over—yet through books, patterns, and his own “paint box” of fabrics and materials, his work is accessible to every crafter.

This episode is brought to you by:

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Kaffe Fassett Studio
List of Kaffe Fassett books
Find a listing of Kaffe’s events
Kaffe’s designs and collaborations in yarn, needlepoint, and quilting fabrics are available on his website.