All about Jesmonite

Congratulations on adding a unique Jesmonite pot to your collection. This clever material is loved by artists and architects for the different ways it can be used, to create everything from homewares to table tops and tiles, movie and TV set design to Museum displays and even Zoo enclosures.

If you search Jesmonite on your favourite social media channel, you'll be wowed by the homewares that can be created. There are many Jesmonite artists (one of my favourite is Katie Gillies in London), and although each artist's techniques vary, included below is how our particular Jesmonite pots are made.  

This guide to Jesmonite explains what Jesmonite is, how your pot was made, and how to care for your new piece. Remember your pot is hand-made, and Jesmonite is a stone-like, naturally sourced material, so please do allow for a little 
'Perfect Imperfection' as minor imperfections and blemishes are unavoidable and should be expected.

What is Jesmonite?

Jesmonite is made from a natural mineral called Gypsum, ground into a super fine powder, and combined with a water-based resin. Similar to stone in its final form, Jesmonite sets fast, in as little as 30 minutes, and cures slow, over 24 hours.  

How are Jesmonite pots made?

Different artists follow a slightly different process, but here's the technique used to make the Jesmonite pots I stock here at Love That Leaf. 
The entire process takes 1 to 2 days from start to finish, with each step done by hand along the way.

The stages are Pigment and Mix (stage 1), Pour and Reveal (stage 2), Cure and Polish (stage 3) and finally, Protect (stage 4).

Stage 1: Pigment and Mix

This 1st stage starts with colour. Using only genuine Jesmonite pigments of red, blue, yellow, black and white, the base colour is created first by blending the primary colours to the perfect shade. 

Now a little maths and chemistry come in to play. A very exact ratio of Jesmonite mineral, to water-based resin, has to be accurately measured out, but carefully kept separate. Once the perfect pigment colour's been blended, it's added to the resin.

Only now is the fine Jesmonite mineral powder added to the coloured resin, and
 hand-mixed until a silky, smooth consistency forms, ready for the pour. Stage 1 puts the artist under extra pressure, as start to finish has to happen in a time-sensitive 10 minutes, as once the mineral and resin meet, they begin to harden very quickly.

If your piece features the marble technique, at the very last moment before the pour, just the smallest amount of pure Jesmonite pigment is added to start the marble effect.  

Stage 2: Pour and Reveal

The 2nd stage is Pour and Reveal, which takes 30 minutes and a little magic. Jesmonite, still in its liquid form,
 is now carefully hand-poured into the mould, taking things slowly and carefully, so the liquid finds its way into every edge of the mould.

For a piece with marble effect, that marbling only appears as the Jesmonite liquid is poured, so remains hidden by the mould until the reveal. After 30 minutes, and a little naturally occurring heat as it sets, the Jesmonite transforms from a liquid to a solid, and the rough pot can be removed from the mould. 
This is the most exciting part if your pot has a marble effect. Now is when the first look at the unique marbling pattern is revealed. 

Stage 3: Cure and Polish

A little patience is required at this stage. The 3rd stage is Cure and Polish. Once the mould has been removed, the countdown begins. Jesmonite sets fast, but cures slow. Once removed from the mould, a further 24 hours is required before the rough pot has fully cured. The next day, at least 3 stages of sanding and polishing can begin. The rough pot is sanded, polished then buffed by hand, until a silky, smooth finish is achieved, ready for stage 4. 

Stage 4: Protect

Like stone, marble and clay, Jesmonite is naturally porous. The 4th stage puts the finishing touch on your piece. At least 2 layers of non-toxic stone sealant are added, inside and out.

This final invisible layer protects from UV light damage, and creates a splash-proof, water resistant, protective layer. The bottom of your pot is then waterproofed using a clear, non-toxic sealant, and your pot is ready to go to its new home at your place. 

Perfectly imperfect

Each piece is unique in colour and design. No two are exactly alike. Being handmade from a natural-based material, formed by hand-pouring into a mould, small imperfections such as blemishes and bubbles are to be expected.

How to care for your Jesmonite

Our Jesmonite has an extra step in the making process, where a protective outer layer of stone sealant is applied in at least 2 coats, which makes your piece UV resistant and water resistant, but not water proof.

Avoid leaving your pot sitting in liquid longer than needed. When used for potted plants, best to top water and let the excess drain out, rather than bottom water, or leave sitting in a saucer of water. When needed, simply wipe down the outside with a soft, damp cloth to clean and dust. 


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