Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Glorious fabrics by Yasser Arafat*


I am distracted from my preparations for the Landmark show by an email from the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey about its forthcoming exhibition Kaffe Fassett - A Life in Colour. http://ftmlondon.org/  I have long been a devoted fan of this most wonderful colourist and creator of patterns, devouring his books on design, interiors, knitting (although I don't knit), needlepoint (although I don't do needlepoint) and of course quilts.
His book on mosaic sent me into a frenzy of buying and smashing china, although a project to cover my patio in broken tiles and crockery sadly progressed no farther than my kitchen doorstep, which used up all the mismatched pieces of blue-and-white china unearthed in the garden over the years. (Which I believe was used to firm the ground as it was being reclaimed from the low-lying marshy margins of the Thames. There's also a lot of oyster shell, but that's another story.)

Like my compost heap, which increases in size but never gets used, the growing pile of multicoloured shards in my shed convinces me that each time I throw out a broken mug or plate I am in fact creatively recycling.
I use a lot of Kaffe Fassett's fabrics in my quilts. As an experiment, I pulled a selection of his fabrics from my shelves at random. They came from my mauve, pink, blue, yellow, green and multicoloured sections. Some I have had for more than a decade, some I bought last year. But like Liberty fabrics, they mysteriously all work together. See top picture.

I would not necessarily choose this accidental assortment to go together in a quilt, but I think it would make an attractive one nonetheless. Like Liberty fabrics, or indeed anything lovely - think of a bunch of tulips with twigs of catkins - I reckon they look better with a rogue element included to add an unexpected edge.
* At a lecture at the Festival of Quilts a couple of years ago, Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fassett's assistant and a designer in his own right, told of how a rather posh woman phoned up a Piccadilly book shop after the publication of Kaffe's first book. "Hello, Hatchards?" she enquired. "Do you have Glorious Knitting by Yasser Arafat?"

Visit my website at www.valeriehugginsquilts.co.uk
Handmade textiles for stylish interiors, off the shelf or to commission

email: valerie@valeriehugginsquilts.co.uk; 020 7515 0701; 07518 885960

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