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Event Details

Thu, May 11, 2023

18:00 – 19:30

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Florence, Italy


This talk by Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably will present their latest projects and collaborations, which include patchwork, fabric, needlepoint, mosaics, painting, and knitting designs. Kaffe Fassett, an American artist working and residing in England, was the first living textile artist to have his own show at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In 2018 Fassett was awarded an Honorary MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by the late Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his services to the crafts of knitting and needlework. Working together with Mably, Fassett is one of the world’s most distinguished fabric artists, and this lecture will give a sense of how they find artistic inspiration.

Acton Lecture

Featured Biographies

Kaffe Fassett MBE



Kaffe Fassett is a leading textiles designer and practitioner of contemporary crafts.  Kaffe Fassett has dedicated the last 50 years of his life to the world of Knitting, Needlepoint and Patchwork, promoting these crafts through his own work in Patchwork, knitting and needlepoint, and encouraging others to find their own creativity. He has produced over 50 publications from ‘how to books’ to colour in design, and also tours internationally giving workshops, lectures and museum exhibitions. 

A Californian by birth, Kaffe moved to the UK in 1964 where through a series of collaborations, he built his name and reputation. He began by creating knitwear designs for Bill Gibb and Missoni and became a leading light in the knitwear revival of the 80s.

Further explorations led him to needlepoint, mosaics, rug-making, tapestries, fabric design, theatre design and patchwork. Kaffe Fassett’s first needlepoint design was commissioned by Pamela Lady Harlech for Lord Harlech. His work has been collected by Barbra Streisand, the late Lauren Bacall, Ali McGraw, Shirley Maclaine and H.R.H. Princess Michael of Kent. 

Kaffe Fassett and fellow fabric designers Brandon Mably and Philip Jacobs, together form the Kaffe Fassett Collective with FreeSpirit Fabrics.In 2019, the Kaffe Fassett Collective collaborated with the luxury fashion house Coach on their Fall 2019 collection.

In 1988 he became the first living textile artist to have a one man show at the V&A Museum. He has exhibited in countries including Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Canada, the USA and Iceland. His autobiography was released in 2012 (Kaffe Fassett: Dreaming in Colour) followed by a retrospective of his work at the Fashion & Textile Museum, London in 2013.

Kaffe inspires people to work with colour in an instinctive way. His latest books are ‘Kaffe Fassett in the Studio’ published in March this year by Abrams and ‘Kaffe Fassett’s Quilts in an English Village” published in August.

In 2018, Kaffe was awarded an Honorary MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in recognition of his services to the crafts of knitting and needlework.

(Photo credit: Debbie Patterson)


Instagram: @kaffefassettstudio

Facebook: @kaffefassettstudio

Twitter: @kaffefassettStu

Brandon Mably


Raised in a small seaside town on the coast of South Wales, Brandon Mably has been interested in colour and design since he was young. According to author/designer and Mably mentor Kaffe Fassett, Mably has “one of the sharpest eyes for style” that he has ever come across.

With no formal education in design, Mably made a radical career change from cooking to knitting in the late 1980’s after a chance meeting with the world-famous Fassett. From the moment he entered Fassett’s studio, Mably realised the creative potential of knitwear designs and soon became Fassett’s apprentice, publishing his first knit designs with a few months of walking into the studio. He has continued to design for Rowan and Vogue with more than 50 designs published to date.

For more than 30 years Mably has organised the running of the Kaffe Fassett Studio, where Fassett trained him to knit, needlepoint, hook rag rugs, and grout mosaics. An inspiring teacher, Mably began travelling the world with Fassett doing workshops. Exotic locales such as Africa, Iceland, Guatemala, and India filled his designer’s eye with inspiration and an explosion of colour and pattern.

An avid and enthusiastic teacher, Mably has learned an important thing over the years – that most people have buried in them a sense of colour and design. This is helping his students discover the design sensibility that continues to inspire and motivate Mably’s work.

Since taking over the teaching of knit workshops from Fassett altogether, he has taught throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, France, Germany, and the UK.

(Photo credit: Luke Richards)