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Jesmonite is such an amazing material to craft with to bring your art to life, and we want to tell you all about it.
Experimental artist, Yambe Tam, utilises jesmonite frequently within her work to explore our relationship with zen, philosophy, and science, in new and exciting ways. But what exactly is jesmonite? Here we will explore what the material is, how it is used, and the benefits you will find when using it within your own art.
What is it made out of?
Jesmonite is a made up of gypsum, acrylic, and water. The base is made from the gypsum, which is processed and modified with acrylic to make a unique material. One of the key benefits of jesmonite is its adaptability! During the process, pigments, metals, and fibres can be added to the mix to give it different appearances and usability. It can also be dyed and polished, making it a very popular material for artists and builders.
Where did it come from?
It was first created by Peter Hawkins. Originally a joiner, he soon made a name for himself as an expert in concrete technology. It was his curious nature that led to the creation of jesmonite, as an alternative building material to fiberglass – which is much more dangerous and less environmentally friendly then jesmonite. Since its use in building, it was discovered by artists for sculpting, creating, and crafting.
Benefits of jesmonite
As well as its adaptability, the material is also much more eco-friendly due to gypsum being a naturally occurring and plentiful material, and it being water based instead of oil based. The environment thanks you! Jesmonite is also durable and resilient, meaning it will withstand the test of time but also is very easy to manipulate before drying making it excellent for cutting, carving, and casting.
Who uses it?
Originally created for its use in construction, the material has found great popularity with artists, crafters, and designers. In-fact, currently jesmonite is being used a lot by interior designers as, with the right mixture, the material can be made to look like stone and marble making them a cheaper alternative for decorating houses. Its benefits are also being seen in other areas of creating, as jesmonite was the go-to choice for prop makers during the creation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Want to try some for yourself? Perfect! Right here at the Attenborough Arts at Home, we have a jesmonite kit that gives you all you need to start creating straight away, with expert guidance from Yambe Tam herself: check out more on our kits page.
While you are here, we also have an upcoming exhibition of Yambe Tam’s ‘Cosmic Gardens’ from the 18th September to the 21st November 2021 at the Attenborough Arts Centre. To see some jesmonite craft in action that explores philosophy, science, and sound, find out more information here.
Written by Paige Manning