Plastic smithing – creating jewellery with waste plastics with Bronwen Gwillim

Ref: S3D10525

Suitable for all

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2 places available

About this course

An experimental approach to learning about plastic and different ways of working with it to create a range of colours, shapes, surface patterns and textures. You will learn safe, cold-working and hot working techniques to create colourful, contemporary jewellery and other small objects.

Course Description

Learn about waste plastic as a viable raw material for contemporary craft. The course will start with an overview of designers currently using plastics, the environmental issues and the differences between repurposing and recycling.  It will explore ways of  identifying different plastic types and the safety issues associated with each type before providing the basic skills and confidence to start cutting, joining, decorating and finishing plastic components. A personal project will provide time to delve deeper to find your own personal interests and express your style. 

The sessions will be structured around a series of short talks and practical demonstrations and there will be an emphasis on creative experimentation and sharing ideas and discoveries.  You will be set a series of design challenges to focus your learning and to ensure you leave with a well considered, completed item or small collection of pieces, be they brooches, earrings, necklaces or other small item.

Practical sessions will ensure you learn about the following:
• How to use a range of tools and techniques to texture, cut, carve, form, melt, laminate and join plastics
• The importance of health, safety and environmental issues and the precautions required for safe working
• The possibilities offered through use of supplementary materials such as resins and glues
• How to use silver to create findings as well as other components to enhance your jewellery designs

By the end of the course you will have:
• Considered the contemporary context for using waste plastic from an artistic and environmental perspective.
• Produced a series of sample pieces to be used for future reference.
• Designed and produced an item or small collection of jewellery pieces of your own design.
• Taken away useful handouts and resource lists


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


On this course the tutor will supply most of the materials including:
Waste plastics, resins and glues.

What students need to bring

Students are asked to bring sketchbooks/pencils. They can also bring examples of domestic waste, industrial or beach plastics to explore (although the tutor will also be providing plastics suitable for use).
Please also bring an apron, something to tie your hair back with, if it is long.
Shoes that cover your feet (no sandals or flip flops or high heels).
All other tools and materials will be provided.

Available to buy

Silver wire for the making of jewellery findings. Also emery paper for sanding and finishing.


Bronwen Gwillim

Bronwen Gwillim trained at Sir John Cass, Camberwell School of Art and Bath Spa University where she explored the use of plastics as part of an MA. She is an experienced teacher, a member of the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen and has exhibited widely. In 2019 she won awards from Madebyhandonline and Design Nation.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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