Kaffe Lecture

Last weekend, or sometime in the not too distant past, Julie and I went to the Kaffe Fassett lecture sponsored by the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. I have been to one of his lectures before and thought this might be a repeat. There were some repeats, but mostly not. I always enjoy being in the shadow of greatness.

The lecture last week (or whenever) was related to the one in 2009, but this lecture was much more about inspiration than last time, which was more about color. Of course, you can’t listen to Kaffe Fassett without getting immersed in color.

He gave some background, but not as much as last time. I had forgotten he is a native San Franciscan and that he is trying to forget his boring given name. He picked Kaffe from an Egyptian fairy tale he read. He talked, as I said, mostly about inspiration, but also about all of his crafts.

He showed a couple of his paintings, from way back in the day, and I loved them! The one I liked most was a still life of cups and a teapot mostly painted in white with a few other neutrals -greys, beige- thrown in. I thought it would be fantastic to try a quilt like that. It would be an interesting challenge, though I would probably get bored with the process in 5 minutes. I have a hangover from arranging FOTY 2015 and can’t even imagine colorwashing a bunch of whites.

His main message was that inspiration is everywhere. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I agree. As an example, he showed a photo of a sewer grate in London and pointed out what he saw. I remember that his eye gravitated mostly to the color. I really enjoy looking at a photo and hearing what other people see. I get a fresh view.

Kaffe gave numerous examples of scenes he had seen, what had inspired him about the scene and the quilt (or sweater or cushion) he had made from them. He didn’t just say “here is a scene I liked” and then show the quilt he made, he talked about what he liked about the imagery in the photo. In some cases, there was only a hint of color from the inspiration in the quilt. Still, I could see the remnants of the images in his work. This made me think that I get inspiration from pattern more than from scenes.

I had to ask about his association with Philip Jacobs (my main fabric man, Phil) and I was actually able to the question in at the Q/A section. He said that Philip does some of the most exquisite drawings, which is true, and when they first started working together, Kaffe would do the color for him. Philip would bring the drawings in black and white or neutrals and Kaffe would color them in. He was thrilled, because color was the best part for him. Recently Philip has been adding in color and Kaffe thinks he likes color now. They must have started working together around the time I was at the last lecture as I make an illusion to that in the post.

Kaffe talked without notes and was a very good speaker. He didn’t say ‘um’ a lot and didn’t have verbal tics. KF was a confident speaker, which I appreciate. I will make an effort to translate that to my own speaking engagements.

Color and texture was infused throughout the talk as well. He loves a lot of riotous, which do work, motifs put together.

He mentioned that he doesn’t do his own sewing. I thought that was interesting and my mind immediately went back to the Luke Haynes “controversy” that was brought up at QuiltCon.**

I felt energized after the talk, especially after a week of no sewing and not even being near my machine.

I didn’t bring books to sign this time as I had to rush off to a graduation party, so I was glad to see that I had 6 of them signed last time.











**As an FYI, I subscribe to the “do what works for you” method of quilting. I can’t say anything derogatory about either of these guys as I send almost all of my quilts out to be quilted. I wonder if farming out the piecing is a guy thing?