A fibre arts workshop with Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably of London, England has attracted participants from around North America to Amherst.
AMHERST – Deanne Fitzpatrick is not often star struck, but she feels attracting Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably to Amherst to conduct a series of workshops was like drawing an NHL superstar.
“For fibre artists it’s like having Sidney Crosby or Bobby Orr come,” Fitzpatrick said from her Amherst studio. “These guys are like the rock stars of what they do.”
Fassett arrived in Amherst on July 18 and conducted workshops on making bold colour choices in rug hooking, while his partner Brandon Mably lead a knitting workshop.
Fassett also hosted Life in Colour: An Evening with Kaffe Fassett lecture at First Baptist Church last Friday night.
Fitzpatrick said one of her employees, Megan Ingman, deserves the credit for attracting the pair to Amherst.
“She was really persistent and kept trying,” Fitzpatrick said. “She contacted them sveral times and eventually it came together that they were going to be in the area so they agreed to come.”
Once word spread about the pair coming to Amherst it didn’t take long to sell the event out. Fitzpatrick said it was only a couple of days before the workshops were sold out with people coming from as far as New Mexico, Texas, Iowa and British Columbia to learn some tips from a pair of men who are considered legends in the textile arts.
Fassett and Mably, who live in London, England, are moving on to Sandy Cove to enjoy some vacation time before going back to England.
“Originally we said we didn’t have time and then we said yes. The first workshop sold out in day so we ended up doing four workshops and a lecture with 30 people in each class,” Fassett said.
Mably said he and Fassett worked with participants in enhancing their colour confidence. He said the best way to do that is by doing the work and using your imagination.
Mably said different people see different things in colours and you have to experience it before you truly get a grasp of what you’re attempting. He said the workshops are not about colour theory, but using instincts in a very hand-one method.
Fassett said it’s not something that’s easy to describe.
“We write books about it, do television shows about and give exhibitions in museums. It’s not something you can describe in a few words, it’s something you have to experience,” Fassett said. “The workshops are good because people sit down and try themselves and if they feel they are not on the right track we can help the be more refined about their colour.”
Fassett said the people they’ve worked with at the workshops were very industrious and are quick to pick up the material. He said it shows how talented the area’s fibre artists are.
Mably hopes those who took part in the workshops were able to take something from the sessions that will help further define their abilities and creativity.
“We’re like a pebble being dropped in the water. The ripples that go out are what they think about onwards and onwards because you can’t really press their button in a day,” Mably said.
Like those who attended the workshops, Fassett said they have discovered just how fabulous working in the arts can be. It’s that enthusiasm and passion they attempted to share with participants.
“There’s no end to it,” Fassett said. “It’s like layers in an onion, there’s always something new under the layer you’ve taken off. It’s life-enhancing.”
If he had to give advice to a new artist, Mably said he would tell them to give it all up and see what happens.
“If they say I have to do this then you know they have the passion because you have to be hungry for it,” Mably said.
Fassett added artists shouldn’t do it for the money. Instead, they should do it for the love of what they’re doing.
“Don’t do something because you think it’s going to bring you this amount of money,” Fassett said. “That’s not what it’s about. Do it because it’s your passion and it’s something you have to do.”