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Arts Degree Show

Twenty Twenty

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Ceramic chain mail in production

Ceramic chain mail in production

This image documents the try-on of the ceramic chain mail at the half way point of production.
Beyond this point the back & front pieces need to be linked together, and the sleeves attached onto the holes on the sides.
(Bisque fired white stoneware clay)

Ceramic sleeve in production

Ceramic sleeve in production

Trying on one of the ceramic sleeves, to see how they fit and if they need adjusting. (Bisque fired white stoneware clay)

Pieces of the ceramic chain mail (Size 6 women's show for scale)

Pieces of the ceramic chain mail (Size 6 women's show for scale)

This shows the final sections of the ceramic chain mail laid out to show where they fit in relation to one another. This is the final stage before the sculpture has its final firing, and is then complete. (Bisque fired white stoneware clay)

Fabric chain mail

Fabric chain mail

These photos show the knotted pattern within and length of the fabric chain mail.
It it seen wrapped and weaved around my body in the video work produced for this semester, as another wearable sculpture. (Polyester blend fabric)

Artist (Garbs) with paper and fabric chain mail

Artist (Garbs) with paper and fabric chain mail

This image shows two out of three of my wearable illustrative sculptures. I am standing proudly with the paper chain mail just slightly behind and the fabric version wrapped around me. (Paper, glue, polyester fabric)

Alice (Garbs) Garbett

Utilising clay, paper and fabric, I produce wearable sculpture that illustrates the difficulty of performing everyday tasks whilst burdened with anxiety.

Within my work anxiety is represented as a physical form, using the qualities of different materials as metaphors for a wide range of emotions. The chain mail are sculptures within their own right; however, they have also been used as illustrative props within my performative work.

My sculptural practice has adapted from working with clay, into a wider exploration of materials such as fabric and paper; the use of alternative materials has allowed me to fully realise my sculptural ideas.
The absorbency of fabric and the delicate nature of paper mimic the strong, heavy and brittle qualities of clay. All of these characteristics are representative of the feelings of fragility, unsubstantiality and uselessness weaved within anxiety.

Ill fit for purpose, I have used these contradictory materials and sculpted them into fragile and futile armours, nullifying their utility, the works then become oxymoronic metaphors.
Traditionally thought of as an item of safety and protection in battle, chain mail was chosen to be a visual metaphor for my fight to feel safe and at ease again. The looped and knotted sculptural forms I produce are inspired by the patterns and links within traditional chain mail.
My pieces are constructed to work through and analyse personal experiences and emotions, as self-biographical pieces are key to my artistic practice. My photography situates itself between self-portraiture and tableau photography.
The images are portraying snapshots of everyday life, as if the viewer is a fly on the wall. These are purposely recognisable common scenarios and situations, plain and monotonous enough to be relatable to every viewer; even though the work comes from a personal experience, it is illustrative of a universally common human condition.
Eating, washing or doing chores whilst wearing such delicate or heavy sculptural pieces is logistically very difficult! I’m hoping the viewer can see the funny side of these scenarios, just as I have. I wanted my work to have a humorous level to it, as finding the funny side of things has helped me through tough times.
The photos are subtly linked with the use of yellow objects. This was initially coincidental; I then chose to continue the theme through the work, due to the association of ‘hope’ the colour yellow suggests.

My practice this semester has been heavily influenced by the ceramic artist Cecil Kemperink. Other artistic influences come from Tracey Emin, Louise Bourgeois and Rebecca Horn. Graham MacIndoe and Isabelle Camillo have influenced how I capture my experiences, as well as the Tableau style photographers Sarah Jones and Gregory Crewdson.

Beyond university, I aim to exhibit my work in galleries and within the wider art community. I shall continue all aspects of my artistic practice, especially ceramics as it has become a real passion of mine. I will also continue selling my work on Etsy. Visit my Instagram page to see more of my practice and how these works would be displayed within a gallery installation.

Final year project

Illustrative sculpture


2020 Winner of The "Potclays Award for Creative Arts" representing Loughborough University - The achievement of this award has focused around the ceramic version of my chain mail. My work has been described as "An ambitious project using clay in an innovative and interesting way".

I had been producing a wearable ceramic chain mail sculpture for the majority of my final year. Firstly extruding white stoneware clay through a hand made extrusion plate to make long 'noodles' of clay, which I then cut into short lengths, securing the two ends together using the 'score and slip' method to make a ring. This process is repeated continuously. The rings are then bisque fired (partially fired) before being linked to one another using more wet clay. The process of linking and bisque firing continues until each section is made. Then the front and back are linked, the sleeves are joined onto them, and then the whole sculpture is fired up to the maturing temperature of the stoneware, the clay then becomes vitrified. My sculpture has been left unglazed, so that each link can move freely, allowing the sculpture to be worn and the wearer to move within it.

I am honoured to be recognised for my work and dedication to such an ambitious project. The ceramic chain mail sculpture weighs around 75 kilograms, and has been a feet of engineering and commitment to produce such a piece. I am incredibly proud of it, and I am so thankful to the ceramic tutors for their support and technical guidance throughout my time at Loughborough.


September 2018 - November 2018

Ceramicist Assistant , Sally Mills Ceramics