Wednesday 12 June 2024

Jesmonite Workshop at Rural Arts, Thirsk with Laura Docherty

My Jesmonite Tray and Bobbins

Recently, I attended a Jesmonite workshop at Rural Arts in Thirsk, run by Laura Docherty (@ottomezzaluna on Instagram).  I've been wanting to try out using Jesmonite for some time so a short course at Rural Arts seemed ideal. 

Wikipedia tells us that "Jesmonite is a composite material used in fine arts, crafts, and construction. It consists of a gypsum-based material in an acrylic resin. It was invented in the United Kingdom in 1984 by Peter Hawkins." Initial experiments acually began in 1978 in Jesmond, Newcastle which is where the product's name comes from. It was conceived as a safe alternative to fibreglass and as a lightweight alternative to cast concrete. In fact, on our course, Peter's daughter, Laura (not our course leader), was with us and was also trying it out for the first time!

Laura Docherty's Jesmonite Examples

Jesmonite, like concrete, involves a powder and a liquid that have to be mixed together.  Both can be poured into moulds and become solid.  However, Jesmonite is more ecological.  Known as an eco resin, the water based acrylic liquid and mineral base have to be mixed in a specific ratio.  It solidifies quite quickly and there is very little waste...

Moulds & Mixing Equipment

Jesmonite - Powder & Liquid

You can add pigment to the liquid element before mixing in the powder to colour the Jesmonite.  The pigments can be combined to create the colour you want.  Not much pigment is needed...

Jesmonite Pigment

Terrazzo chips can be made which you can then use as inclusions in your mix and result in a finished product speckled with the colours of terrazzo chips that you have added.  They are made by making thin sheets of Jesmonite and breaking them up into small chips once the Jesmonite has solidified...

Making Terrazzo Chips

Tubs of Terrazzo Chips

I enjoyed making a dark grey tray with multi-coloured terrazzo chips...

Mould filled with my mix of Jesmonite and terrazzo chips

The tray had to be sanded with wet and dry sandpaper once it had set to reveal the colourful terrazzo...

Sanding my dish to reveal the terrazzo chips

Finished dish

I am keeping some bobbins on my terrazzo dish at the moment (see first image).

I also made a pot with a black colour-blocked rim and a mint green body. You do this by pouring the black Jesmonite into the mould first and because there were streaks of black on the mould this made an interesting pattern when the green was poured in...

Pouring Jesmonite into a pot mould

Pot mould after pouring

Finished pot

It's not always possible to completely control the outcome so you can get some really interesting results.  I'm not sure how I expected my pot to come out but I like it and am currently using it to store my crochet hooks...

Finished Pot & Crochet Hooks

I thoroughly enjoyed the session and look forward to experimenting more at home.  Thanks Laura!

The Courthouse, which is where Rural Arts is based, has a great cafe, an artisan shop and has exhibitions, workshops and performances - worth a visit for the cafe and shop alone!  The next Jesmonite workshops is on Wednesday 17 July 2024. Check it out here.


  1. How fascinating! I love the look of the finished pieces!

    1. Thank you, Heather - it's really fun and exciting to see the outcome as it's a bit unpredictable!