Meet the tutor: Yambe Tam

We caught up with Yambe to find out about her art and what is in her Attenborough Arts at Home kit.

Tell us about you.

What is the artform do you practise, and why?

I don’t normally teach, but my creative practice encompasses sculpture, installation, and emerging technologies. I’m drawn to these mediums for their ability to create physical and immersive experiences. For this workshop, I show people how to use Jesmonite, which is a relatively easy to use casting material.

How long have you been practicing this artform?

I started casting with Jesmonite in 2018 though I didn’t really use it in my work until 2019.

Where did learn about working with Jesmonite?

I was first introduced to mould making and Jesmonite at the Royal College of Art, where I earned my MA in Painting in 2018. I then took a course on it at London Sculpture Workshop to get more experience working with it.

Do you have any artists or role models that have inspired or influenced you in your artistic journey/career?

I’ve long been inspired by Olafur Eliasson, both his work and studio practice. His 2019 exhibition “In Real Life” at Tate Modern had a room with a collection of his studio’s experiments with geometry. There’s something really beautiful about the simultaneous simplicity and complexity of polyhedrons constructed out of identical shapes like triangles, squares, hexagons – and reconfiguring these building blocks into different forms.

Is there anything in particular that you or your work are inspired by?

Most of my inspiration comes from science, spiritual practice, and nature.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I’m an ordained Zen Buddhist.

Do you have any interests or hobbies outside of your art profession that demands your attention?

During lockdown at the beginning of last year, I got back into playing piano regularly – I played for about ten years when I was younger and had a love-hate relationship with it. Now enjoy it a lot more because there’s no pressure to perform.

What is your most prized piece of work, the one that you are most proud of?

I love all my artworks equally. That being said, I still feel very proud of the sonic-sculpture installation “Musica Universalis” from 2019 because of the enormous amount of effort and experimentation that went into it. That was also my first time working with sound designer Dylan Henry Price, who has become a frequent collaborator and great friend.

Tell us about your kit.

What will you be teaching in your video tutorial?

In this workshop, I demonstrate how to create a simple, one-use mould and cast with Jesmonite. You can achieve a wide variety of colours and effects with it, and it’s easy and safe (though a bit messy) to use at home. So many casting processes use toxic, hazardous materials so it was important for me for the materials to be as non-toxic and environmentally friendly as possible.

How did you come to get involved with Attenborough Arts Centre?

The Visual Arts Officer, Rachel Graves, invited me to exhibit at Attenborough Arts Centre at the beginning of last year.

What's in your creative kit that students will receive as part of your course?

Jesmonite AC300 powder base and acrylic binder, colour pigments, Thixotrope, Quadraxial fibreglass fabric, gloves, a mask, pencil, brushes, mixing stick, duct tape, Vaseline to act as a mould release, geometry patterns, mixing container, and the cardboard of the box itself.

Are there any pre-requisite materials students will need or need to purchase separately?

It would be really useful to have a kitchen scale and a pair of scissors and/or a craft knife.

Are there plans for more in the future i.e. for exhibiting your work somewhere?

I will be exhibiting at FACT Liverpool at the end of August, and will open a solo exhibition in Gallery 2 at Attenborough Arts Centre later in the year (exact dates TBD).

Where can we find out more about your art?

You can learn more about my work at my website:

www.yambetam.com

Discover Yambe's kit for yourself