Freddie Robins

Lives and works in Essex
Born 1965 in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, UK.

1987-1989 MA(RCA), Textiles (Knit), Royal College of Art, London.
1984-1987 BA(Hons) 1st Class, Constructed Textiles (Knit), Middlesex Polytechnic, London.

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Crafts Council, London, Castle Museum, Nottingham, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums, West Norway Museum of Decorative Art, Bergen, Norway.


COLLECT – Project Space, Saatchi Gallery, London.

A celebration of works by Martha Fiennes, Freddie Robins and Alice Cicolini, Spring Studios, curated by Andrée Cooke.


Transformations, Smiths Row, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.


Entlang des Fadens (Along the Thread), Kunst Archiv Darmstadt, Germany

Bite-Size: miniature textiles from Japan and the UK, Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation, London, Gallery Gallery, Koyoto, Japan and Nagoya University of the Arts and Sciences, Japan.
Contemporary Craft, HERE & NOW, Cheongju International Craft Biennale 2011, Korea.
Fifties, Fashion and Emerging Feminism [a contemporary response], curated by Day + Gluckman, Collyer Bristow Gallery, London.

7th International Triennial of Contemporary Textile Arts, Tournai, Belgium.
Art & Fashion. Between Skin and Clothing, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany. A new Hook. Re-thinking needlework, Museum Bellerive, Zurich, Switzerland.


The Art of Fashion: Installing Illusions, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. The Endless Garment, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, Australia.
Making and Mending, Smiths Row, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.


Dritto Rovescio, La Triennale di Milano, Milan, Italy.
Dress Codes: Clothing as Metaphor, Katonah Museum of Art, New York, USA. Think Tank takes on Skill, Contemporary Applied Arts, London and touring Europe.


Cloth & Culture Now, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich and Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. Deviants, Crafts Council Collection Touring Exhibition, the Hub, Sleaford, Lincolnshire and touring.


Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting, Museum of Arts & Design, New York and touring USA. Crimes of Omission, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, USA.
Body, Nobody, Somebody, West Norway Museum of Decorative Art, Bergen, Norway (solo). The Perfect, Contemporary Applied Arts, London (solo).


Johnny Foreigner, Kunstforum Rheinhessen, Essenheimer Kunstverein, Germany. 2005 Reveal, Castle Museum, Nottingham.

Abstracted Garments, Contemporary Applied Arts, London.

Flexible 4: Identities, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester and touring internationally.

2010 Commissioned by English Heritage to produce installation for Extraordinary Measures, Belsay Hall,

1999 Commissioned by inIVA (Institute of International Visual Art) to create a multimedia work for X-Space, their experimental web space

1998 Public Art Commission by the London Borough of Hackney for Shoreditch Library, London.

2004 Galerie sphn, Berlin, Germany.
2003 Britto International Artists’ Workshop, Tepantor Film City, Bangladesh – a Triangle Arts Workshop. Funded by the British Council.


2010 Selection and curation of Jerwood Contemporary Makers 2010 with Hans Stofer (Chair) and Richard Slee. 2005 Ceremony, Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park, London (co-curated with Sandra Ross).

Knit 2 Together: Concepts in Knitting, Crafts Council Gallery, London (co-curated with Katy Bevan).

2013 Grants for the Arts award, Arts Council England/National Lottery.
2012 Shortlisted for Women to Watch 2012, National Museum of Women in the Arts,

Washington, USA.2006 AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council), Small Grant for the Creative and Performing Arts.
Research Development Award, Royal College of Art.

2003 Travel Award to Bangladesh, British Council. Visual Arts Research Award, Goldsmiths College.

2002 Shortlisted for the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize 2002: Textiles. 2001 London Arts Award.
1998 Crafts Council Setting Up Award.

Senior Tutor, Textiles (Mixed Media), Royal College of Art, London

Freddie Robins Artist’s Statement

Out on a Limb – 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.

The process of converting a 16th Century barn into a home and studio has radically shifted my approach to making and materials. I have developed a new expedient approach to making. I have to make and resolve the work with what is to hand. My materials are all my samples and surpluses, things donated, inherited and found. In 2007 I completed a research project (funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council), which also left me with a large quantity of waste material in the form of knitted bodies. My new body of work makes use of this excess. I am working with what I already have instead of deciding what I want to make and then choosing and buying new materials.

Taking this “stuff” as my starting point and holding current concepts and themes in mind, ideas about what it is to be human, loss, death, grief and mourning, I am working spontaneously with my materials. Enjoying the release from pre-planned, designed work I am knitting, crocheting, embroidering, sewing and pinning onto the knitted bodies and body parts. The bodies and body parts are made three-dimensional by filling them with expanding foam. A process that gives them form, enabling them to stand, but adds little weight. They remain visually light contrasting with the dark themes that I am exploring.

My visual research has come from my fascination with ossuaries, charnel houses and the jewelled skeletons con- tained within them. I have experienced the Paris Catacombs, Sedlac Ossuary in the Czech Republic and the Capu- chin Cemetery in Rome. Other references have been the work of outsider artists particularly Katharina Detzel and Marie Lieb whose work I witnessed in “Madness is Female”, Museum Dr. Guislain, Ghent and the work of Judith Scott who was exhibited at the Museum of Everything in London last year.

The finished pieces evolve from the process as opposed to being designed and made. I work on the pieces until they are right, working on more than one piece at a time. At times I undo work or cut it up. At times I abandon a piece, and start afresh. Each piece informs the next. None of the works are made in isolation. The shapes, materials, processes and colours used in the first piece inform how I approach the second piece, and so on, until I have a full range of objects that work together to complete the whole installation. I am collaging together building materials and textiles; whatever needs to be done to make the works work, to make the work stand up, physically and conceptually. These works challenge traditional concepts and pre-conceived ideas of what craft is, how it might be made and how it might look.