Kaffe Fassett – 50 Years in Colour at Aberdeen Art Gallery

The Aberdeen has a newly refurbished Art Gallery.  How do I know?  Well that is a good question and one that a blogger friend and brilliant photographer, Scott K Marshall Photography (@skm1963) is able to answer.  His post,  Aberdeen Art Gallery # 1,  features a photo portfolio of the notable changes from the Aberdeen Art Galley that I visited in 2014.  I recognized the basic structure, but the renovations are exciting and provide a more spacious atmosphere.

Scott’s post had me dashing back to my photos of the Aberdeen Art Gallery.  Back in 2014, my camera did not have the fancy location and date attributes that come with our cell phone cameras, so it took a couple hours to locate the photos.  But I remembered the exhibition.

No one would ever forget this exhibition.

Kaffe Fassett

50 Years in Colour at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Kaffe Fassett has inspired people across the world with his colourful work in fabric, knitting, needlepoint, patchwork, painting and mosaic.  According to his website, he has “dedicated the last 50 years of his life to the world of Knitting, Needlepoint, and Patchwork, promoting these crafts through his own work and encouraging others to find their own creativity.”

My mother and grandmothers loved crafts, quilting and needlepoint. They would have been overjoyed to see this exhibition.

Frank Havrah Fassett was born in San Francisco in 1937.  But his name soon changed to Kaffe when he read the book “Boy of the Pyramid”  by Ruth Fosdick Jones.  It is an uplifting narrative of friendship between an Egyptian nobleman’s son, Kaffe, and Sari, a slave girl from the Sinai region.

Kaffe’s family was creative.  His parents William and Madeleine built the successful restaurant, Nepenthe, which was constructed around a cabin that was first owned by Orson Welles and his wife Rita Hayworth.  (I did not know that they were even married. But I digress.)  The name Nepenthe refers to a concoction used by the ancient gods to induce forgetfulness from pain or sorrow.  Then there was Kaffe’s great grandfather Jacob Sloat Fassett, who was a lawyer and United States Congressman.  Going back further,  Kaffe’s great-great grandfather was the founder of the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California. Artistic endeavour is embedded in Kaffe’s DNA.

Join me for a tour of Kaffe Fassett – 50 Years in Colour.

Kaffe Fassett, Exhibition at The Aberdeen Art Gallery, 2014 from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

21 Comments »

    • You and me both! I think it goes back to my days when I was a child and I would go with my mother to a “ladies aid” meeting. a room full of women would sit around a huge quilting frame and make blankets for those long winter evenings. They were beautiful. (both the quilts and the women) Those cakes and cookies that were served were delicious.

  1. Those are some EYE POPPING colors!!! I’m so glad I was able to load this last time on line and enjoy it at home = with time to study the amazing needlework.

    One of these days I’ll be able to enjoy the videos/pod casts, and when that happens it will be a marathon of viewing pleasure!

    How’s the weather?

    • The snow has left us and has moved over to eastern Canada to St. John’s Newfoundland. They had a Snowmeggdon of outstanding proportions – snow that covered the length of doorways. I knew you would love this exhibition – it was a magnificent explosion of colour and vibrancy. It is a startling change from the neutral colours preferred by many designers and interior design magazines. Thanks for stopping by – always enjoy our visits.

  2. What a wonderful post, one that I enjoyed especially. I have always enjoyed, handcrafts, especially crochet that I enjoyed, making various items. I also am still looking to learn to tat. That is a complicated craft, as I see it. My mother tried to each me using a shuttle. My sister learned, I believe. Tatting is now being introduced to me by using a needle. I am doing to see if I can do it using the needle. We will see. The beautiful photos you included are a new challenge to me. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Thank you for introducing me to Kaffe Fassett! Your little tour was an appetizer for the feast at his website which is filled with beautiful photos and videos of his work and collaborations. I spent almost an hour there and just now discovered so many of his books at our library. The few hours I spent as a young woman with rudimetary knitting and needlepoint give me an appreciation of his creative genius. Seeing his fabric, yarn and thread on the computer screen is almost too much to take in. I can only imagine the experience of actually touching them. I wonder if humble quilters over the centuries ever envisioned their necessity becoming art. Contemporary respect for these crafts and their elevation into the art world are just one way of keeping them alive. The men and women who create this art everyday out of necessity, not only for personal use but for sale, are able to compete with professional artists as travelers and shoppers head to craft fairs, bazaars, and online stores like Etsy. Everybody wins!

    • How very very well said, Mary Jo. I remember how meticulous my grandmothers were with their crafts. One of them tried to teach me to tat, another craft that is coming back into prominence. I confess I never did get the knack for it. I am now going to go back into the Victorian era to see how the arts and crafts movement came into being. As for quilting, I remember Frances taking me to a “Ladies Aid” meeting where they served cake and tea while they quilted together. They had a huge frame that seemed to fill the entire room. It was necessity that as you said “turned into art.” Everybody does win! And that gives me comfort.

  4. Wow! What glorious art work and it is wonderful that needlepoint etc is recognised as such! I too imagine how my grandmother would have loved this but also remember her light laughter when my mother called her creations art … it is just what they did out on the islands! What a wonder to see these in Aberdeen and the photos are glorious!

    • I can only imagine the beautiful work your grandmother created. What islands? I would love to know where your grandmother lived. I am fascinated by the lives of our mothers and grandmothers. There are so many stories that are held in the folds of history – our personal histories. Our lives are so busy and full, so taking time to record and preserve memories competes with current demands. I loved this exhibition.

      • Rebecca, you do right to take a record of your family’s earlier life … I so wish I had! Precious memories and experiences. My grandmother was always crocheting, knitting, doing some handiwork when having a ‘break’. I treasure the numerous table cloths I have which she made for Christmas presents for all the grandchildren! She was born and lived all her life on a small island off the west coast of Sweden … so many there are still relations!

      • You have those tablecloths too! Aren’t they wonderful? We have a lot in common: my great grandfather came from Sweden in the 1880’s (I think that was the time – still need to confirm). My great grandmother came from Denmark. One of the reasons I started the Tea Toast & Trivia Podcast was to capture my mother’s (Frances) story. She will be turning 89 this year and I had been wondering how I was going to record her thoughts. I meet with her every Wednesday and she has been gracious in allowing me to add her thoughts to the podcast conversation. I appreciate your thoughtful approach to storytelling. It is much needed in our world.

    • Thank you, Cindy. This was an unforgettable exhibition, one that celebrates the creativity of past days. What our grandmothers did out of necessity turned into works of art. Creativity gives breath to our lives.

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