Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Kaffe and Camila: masters of dazzle

An eventful couple of days skidding across London from one textile event to another in a swirl of dazzle and inspiration, among them the Alice Kettle installation at The Queen's House, Greenwich  http://www.rmg.co.uk/queens-house/ - not to be missed;  and the first day of Kaffe Fassett - A Life in Colour at the Fashion and Textile Museum, Bermondsey, in the shadow of The Shard near London Bridge http://ftmlondon.org/ftm-exhibitions/kaffe-fassett/.
Suffice to say that anyone who lives colour and pattern as I do cannot fail to be excited by Fassett. Only my familiarity with his work prevented my jaw dropping to the (sparkle-encrusted) floor on entering this jewel-box of a show, but I was nonetheless thrilled at the way the foyer and corridor had been painted in broad stripes of orange, pink, turquoise, blue and red - a motif that even extended to the furniture in the gift shop (not for sale but easily replicated. Note to self: kitchen table and chairs need a revamp).
Among numerous knits, needlepoints, mosaics and paintings, my eyes were drawn, naturally, to the quilts and to how they were quilted - some of them seemingly on long-arm quilters like the Beast, although sadly not attributed to the individual quilters themselves (unless in the small print somewhere). And a beautiful job they'd done too.
Also grabbing my attention among the visual noise, a painted design for a fabric that has long been a favourite of mine. The large, free-floating flower heads - pansies, roses, carnations, tulips, primulas - have appeared in several guises and colourways, some enclosed in a foliage trellis, others against a spotted background. And in the exhibition I quickly came across them again on a needlepoint footstool, above right. The flowers are a dream to cut out for applique and they have played a part in many of my quilts, including the one below right (note to self: After ten years isn't it about time you finished it?);  and most recently in a starring role in one of my child's quilts, Pansy,  right.
It may seem a big leap in topic from Kaffe Fassett to the magnificent Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of the Kids Company charity http://www.kidsco.org.uk/  and I mean no disrespect to her dedication to underprivileged and abused children in focussing on her gorgeous clothing. I was delighted to see a picture of her in last weekend's Sunday Times magazine, swathed as usual in a riot of colourful prints including - yes - the very same Kaffe Fassett fabric draped across her shoulders.
 Amid all these photos, I would love to show the picture here, but I have a healthy fear of copyright lawyers. So may I simply urge you to google her images yourself for a textile riot extravaganza bonanza. (Note to self: how about a Camila-inspired series of quilts?)

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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