A college in Hereford is expanding its craft workshop after students increasingly book out areas to use a popular material.
Hereford College of Arts uses the water-based resin Jesmonite with both it’s FE and HE students across two campuses, and now the degree level cold casting facilities at the College Road site are growing.
When Jesmonite was first introduced a sink was plumbed in and one workstation fitted so students could work with the product. Now there are four casting bays and plans to expand out of the workshop.
Ian Berrill, an artist blacksmith by trade, has run the FE workshop since 2012 and the Degree workshop at HCA for two years.
“We’ve been completely addicted ever since we were introduced to Jesmonite about five years ago,” he said.
“All our students are introduced to Jesmonite now. The textile students use it with all the colours, the performing arts students can use it for prop making and set building, and our print students can cast traditional block type to emboss letters into ceramics. It’s our BA and MA Design Craft students that have really been pushing the properties of Jesmonite though.
“It has been laser etched, turned on the wood lathe, used by our jewellery students and we have even made photographic quality images in Jesmonite, the possibilities really are endless, and it is great to see the creativity the students have.
“I love demonstrating Jesmonite processes. You judge the student reactions by the noises they make, we get “oooohs”, “aaahs” and “wows”. It sparks that interest, curiosity and therefore the creativity that we always want students to have. We are going to be using Jesmonite for a long time and we will have the facilities to keep experimenting too.”
Jesmonite is an eco-friendly versatile material which is used vastly in both the creative and architectural industries. It’s headquarters are in Bishops Castle, Shropshire, and it is sold all over the world.
Tim Sharman, Sales Director at Jesmonite, said he was delighted to hear the college is expanding its creative offering and accommodating the interest in the product.
“I remember going to Hereford College of Arts and talking to staff about how Jesmonite could be beneficial for their students,” he said.
“To hear how they have got on since then is amazing, they have really flown with it, and it is great to see them trying so many different things. There are many patterns, designs and textures you can create with Jesmonite, and it sounds like they are trying them all.
“It is great to see the students learning and exploring in their lessons, as well as in industry we feel our product can really spark the imagination of those in education and it is something we very much enjoy hearing about.”
One Hereford College of Arts level 5 student, Thomas Hancock, has created silicone moulds of old Victorian bottles, slip casting Jesmonite into the moulds with extracted tannins from oak. Once demoulded he brushes vinegar onto the surface, turning it purple.
Another level five craft student, Sarah Hefferman has been casting objects she finds for a recent #getoutgetinspired project. Her teachers said the textures and forms Sarah has sampled are wonderful and full of possibilities.
Jordan Knight is about to graduate his BA (Hons) Contemporary Design Crafts. He has 3D printed structures inspired by the architecture of Hereford Cathedral and cast them in Jesmonite both AC100 and AC730.
For more information on Jesmonite visit the website https://jesmonite.com.