Freddie Robins (1965 - )

machine knitted wool, glass beads, coral, antique earring in polished agate mounted on maple wood plaque

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    As described by Freddie Robins: ‘In I, I make use of an unwanted gift, the kind of object that I hate the most. A piece of agate that has been turned into a tea-light holder, giving it a spurious function. Agate is a beautiful thing, why turn it into something hideous. Using pieces of knitting plus a piece of antique jewellery and coral from my mother I have constructed an all seeing eye. I have always felt a personal attachment to the symbol of the eye, my own eyesight being poor yet my reliance upon sight for my work.’

    I is part of her Out on a Limb series, initiated by the ‘large quantity of waste material in the form of knitted bodies’ at the outcome of a 2007 AHRC research project, and the decision to use ‘samples and surpluses, things donated and inherited and found, domestic craft, mass manufacture, exquisite craftsmanship, embellished and encrusted, excess, needless, disembodied, immense violence, fear, loss, death, pain, pins and needles, and wool’ as a new starting point for making after converting a 16th century barn into a home and studio.

    Robins’s broader practice cuts across art, craft and design. She uses knitting to explore contemporary issues of the domestic, gender and the human condition. She challenges cultural preconceptions surrounding knitting as craft, disrupting the notion of the medium as passive and benign by incorporating humour and fear.

  • About the artist
    Born in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, Freddie Robins studied constructed textiles at Middlesex Polytechnic and the RCA, graduating in 1989. On graduation she established Tait & Style, a design company specialising in embroidered, knitted and needle-punched fabrics, with fellow RCA graduate Ingrid Tait, designing fashion and furnishing fabrics and accessories for eight years. Changing the focus of her practice in 1997 to conceptually-led knitted textile artworks, she received a Crafts Council Setting Up Award in 1998. In 2002, she was shortlisted for the ‘Jerwood Applied Arts Prize: Textiles’. Her first solo show at Firstsite, Minories Art Gallery, Colchester (2002) toured to the Pier Art Centre, Orkney; with further solo exhibitions at KODE Kunstmuseer in Bergen, Norway (2007); and Contemporary Applied Arts, London (2009). More recently, her work has been included in group shows at M100 Exhibition Centre for Contemporary Art, Odense, Denmark (2018); Blyth Gallery, Imperial College, London (2019); and Messums Wiltshire (2019). Robins is Senior Tutor and Reader in Textiles at the Royal College of Art.
  • Explore
    Materials & Techniques
    mixed media sculpture
  • Details
    machine knitted wool, glass beads, coral, antique earring in polished agate mounted on maple wood plaque
    height: 42.0 cm; width: 45.2 cm; depth: 11.7 cm
    Purchased from the artist March 2021, through the Art XUK project 2020-21
    Centre wooden plaque - 'FREDDIE ROBINS - I - 2013'
    The artist; from whom purchased by UK Government Art Collection, 18 March 2021
    GAC number