Skip to main content

Ceramics & Glass (MA)

Emma Mounsey

Born and raised in Cambridge, Emma Mounsey received her Art Foundation from Loughborough University in 2015 where she was awarded the John Mack Foundation Prize. She went on to gain a BA in Applied Art with 1st Class Honours from the University of Wolverhampton in 2018, where she also won the Potclays Graduate Award. She has recently completed her MA in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art. She has exhibited her work at the White House Cone in Stourbridge and at Artsdepot and Cluster Crafts in London. In 2018 she was awarded a commission to design a piece of large scale public art for Shrewsbury Hospital. In early 2021 Emma will be spending 3 months developing her work at Konstfack (University of Arts, Crafts and Design) in Stockholm as part of the Anglo-Swedish Society exchange programme.

For any enquiries or commissions please email


Instagram - @emma_mounsey


Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Ceramics & Glass (MA)

The foundations of my practice lie in the exposed and enclosed, the void and the line, the chaos and the order, and the tensions between them. I construct spaces which abstract architectural, structural references into wholly sculptural forms.

The work is based in handbuilding, hand rolling individual coils of clay and painstakingly constructing and finishing fragile and complex frameworks. The laborious and meditative nature of this process goes hand in hand with the focus on barriers, protection and entrapment. The constraints I place on the process, the repetition, the iterations of the same actions and forms working together, are my comfort zone, a shelter of safety but also entanglement and confinement.

In contrast there is an element of play to the work I create, giving myself multiples of the same object with which to build intuitively, the act of abstracting and miniaturising the real world into something I can control, into play things, is of a childish nature. With each iteration and assemblage new connections are made, a conversation emerges both personal and public.

Bound Within These Pages


ArchitectureConstraintConstructCraftDigitalFragilityLinePortfolioPublic ArtSculptureSpaceStructure

Complex Void — Glazed ceramic - approximately 15cm square

Complex Void (detail)

Fragile Impact — Unglazed and glazed ceramic - 28x12x44cm

Fragile Impact (detail)

Cage Of Your Own Creation — Unglazed Ceramic - 5x7x5cm

Wrapped Up In Yourself — Unglazed ceramic - Approximately 7cm diameter

This group of works were where I began to explore ideas of confinement and restriction. Each piece is slowly and meticulously handbuilt using paperclay and delicately warped during the firing process, control and unpredictability fighting between themselves at each stage.
The constraints are built early on in the process and once these boundaries have been set there are no further rules, I am free to play within that space, to draw connections.



100 x 7 II — Unfired ceramic

100 x 7 II — Unfired ceramic

100 x 7 — Unfired ceramic

75 x 7 — Unfired ceramic

Building Process

Rolling (timelapse)
Constructing (timelapse)
This body of work builds on ideas of confinement and constraint by limiting the size and number of rods used to construct with. For example '100 x 7' is constructed using 100 individual rods, each 7cm long. The rods are each hand rolled, cut to size and painstakingly joined together. The abstracted structures which appear unfold intuitively, each rod placed is a decision made as a response to the one before it. There can be a vague idea of the form I will create but ultimately it is an ever evolving construction which talks about tension and edges and connections.

This body of work is still very much a work in progress and these objects are still waiting to be fired and fully resolved.



Inside Looking Out I

Inside Looking Out II

100 x 7 Public Art Proposal

100 x 7 II Public Art Proposal

These are some of the first works I created during lockdown. Without the facilities to make physical three-dimensional objects I turned to more two-dimensional expressions of ideas both physical and digital. This gave me a chance to explore scale, to resolve where the objects could be situated and where they could inspire other work in the future.

The objects I make are always on a smaller scale and this tendency towards the small is about control. A smaller scale along with strict constraints allows me to feel comfortable to play, it feels manageable. Once the rods are rolled there are no rules, I can imagine they can become anything and when finished, though they are on this smaller scale, the objects can be imagined as larger objects, playground climbing frames, public art, the framework for entire buildings.


Paper and digital collage
Structural Embrace — Digital 3D model 2020

Structural Embrace (building process)

Structural Embrace — Digital 3D model 2020

The constraints and limitations imposed by lockdown forced me to explore a more digital approach to my practice. This was a whole new world to me, one both daunting and exciting. I created 'Structural Embrace' to express ideas of where the current unresolved body of work could go next, looking at relationships between different objects and materials.

There is an inevitable void between reality and these idealised objects with precise axes and imposed textures, they lack real worlds problems of gravity, material, firing processes and subsequently anything is possible. Therefore this is a great tool for envisaging ideas, planning compositions and situations. It is a beginning not an end.


Digital 3D model
23 July 2020
12:30 (GMT + 0)

From a Distance: The importance of a cultural experience and exchange of art education

Discussion on cultural awareness, individual practices and future plans.
Read More

Previous Student

Next Student

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
Royal College of Art
Registered Office: Royal College of Art,
Kensington Gore, South Kensington,
London SW7 2EU
RCA™ Royal College of Art™ are trademarks
of the Royal College of Art