• Collected - used and abused

Robins, Freddie, 2018, Conference or Workshop, Collected - used and abused at In the Loop @ 10, University of Southampton, UK, 19 - 20 July 2018.

Abstract or Description:

When I was a child I read a library book about two children who ran away to live in a museum. Ever since then I have wanted to live in a museum. The one I had in mind is arguably the greatest museum on earth, the Pitt Rivers in Oxford. Taking up residence there has not yet become a reality for me so I have spent much of my adult life making the home that I do have as close to a museum as I can.

My collections are wide ranging but mostly of little value, let alone monetary value, to others – they include many knitted items including tea cosies in the form of cottages, knitted toys and novelty knitwear. This last collection was not intentional. I was hunting on eBay for a particular hand knitted jumper designed by Patricia Roberts, which I am yet to find, and just started buying other designs that I found instead. The design that I am hunting is called Tarzan and features a monkey holding a peeled banana. I knitted it when I was about seventeen, saving up for the yarn from my weekend job. Having held onto this jumper for nearly twenty years, in a moment of uncharacteristic rashness, I threw it out and now I want it back.

The novelty jumpers that I have bought along the way are what I call “countryside jumpers”, hand knitted jumpers that portray rural landscapes; farmhouses with animals, villages complete with churches, streams, rolling hills, blue skies and white clouds. These jumpers have become the background for a new series of works collectively entitled Someone else’s dream. In these works I have changed the picturesque scenes to landscapes of misery. I have embroidered a car crash, a figure hanged from a tree, a house fire, a body drowned in a river, fly-tipping and a crime investigation scene. Some of the scenes that I have embroidered are from personal experience, some from news stories, all have happened in the Essex countryside where I live in my museum.

In my earlier series Knitted Homes of Crime, I reference my collection of knitted tea cosies that take the form of country cottages. In my series the tea cosies that I have knitted are less idyllic. They are true representations of the homes of female killers, or the houses where they committed their crimes.

The third collection that I propose to discuss has been used in the production of a series of mono prints. Ghosts have made direct use of my collection of knitted toys. I have inked them up, placed them in a letterpress and printed directly from them.

This move from a precious collector of objects to rash user, or possibly abuser, of collected objects is new for me but it does align with my interest in subversion. The subversion of the handmade, albeit the inexpensive and unfashionable, giving them a new meaning, relevance and desirability. It also gives me more room to start another collection.

Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art > W140 Printmaking
Creative Arts and Design > W700 Crafts
Creative Arts and Design > W700 Crafts > W710 Fabric and Leather Crafts
School or Centre: School of Design
Funders: Royal College of Art
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2018 11:11
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2021 16:09
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3624
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