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The Perfect

Black Dog Publishing
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  • J441 Machine Knitting
  • W231 Textile Design
  • W710 Fabric And Leather Crafts
  • Design


Robins’ ‘The perfect’ is an illustrated chapter in the book, In the Loop: Knitting Now, edited by Dr Jessica Hemmings (2010). The chapter presents the rationale, process and outcomes of Robins’ AHRC-funded research project, ‘The Perfect – Knitted Sculpture for Public Exhibition’, which focused on the potential of new ‘seamless’ knitting technology to produce large-scale, repeatable and changeable knitted sculptural forms. This technology provided a new means for Robins to address long-standing interests of knitting as a serious medium for self-expression, challenging the social preconceptions that surround knitting as a practice. Robins describes how she explored the capabilities of the Shima Seiki Wholegarment® knitting machine for the making of art pieces; to date, Robins is the only person worldwide to have used this technology in an art (rather than a design or industrial) context. The results contribute to academic debates about the relevance and scope of knitting in art, regional and international knitting traditions, knitting as social activism and knitting technology. The project was first presented at ‘In the Loop: Knitting, Past, Present and Future’, a conference at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton (2008), and material was subsequently developed to form the text for ‘The perfect’. Reviewing In the Loop in The Guardian (2010), Perri Lewis stated that, ‘by striving for perfection in her craftsmanship [Robins has] produced some incredible work, including a series of these wonderful knitted people’. Four of the works described in the chapter were later exhibited alongside the work of nine international designers (including Walter van Beirendonck, Sandra Backlund and Issey Miyake) at ‘The Endless Garment: The New Craft of Machine Knitting’, at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (2010), which attracted 5,990 visitors.

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