Plastic smithing – creating jewellery with waste plastics with Bronwen Gwillim


Ref: S4D11422

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About this course

You will look at the types and characteristics of waste plastics and learn a range of safe, cold-working and hot-working techniques to create colourful, contemporary jewellery and other small objects.

Course Description

The aims of this course are to provideyou with the basic skills and confidence to explore the use of waste plastic as a material for making jewellery. During the course you will learn about the types and characteristics of plastics readily available as waste and a range of safe, cold-working and hot working techniques that can be used to create jewellery and other small objects.

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 design challenge to focus your learning and to ensure you leave with a well considered, completed item, be it a brooch, earrings, necklace 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

By the end of the course you will have:

- Produced a series of sample pieces to be used for future reference

- Designed and produced items of jewellery of your own design.

- Taken away useful handouts and resource lists

Materials week: Found. 20–24 February 2022

Caroline Wendling, Bronwen Gwillm, Elaine Bolt, Rita Parniczky, Melanie Rose.

This course is part of a themed week, FOUND. With sustainability very much a focus of daily life now, this set of five courses explore a resourceful approach to creative work using found and upcycled materials, and other materials often considered as waste. The primary objective is to employ an inquisitive, and playful approach in developing new work, while learning new skills and to developing thoughtful artworks or beautiful objects. The courses start on Sunday evening and finish on Thursday afternoon and you are encouraged to engage with those on the other courses.


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 until 9pm, 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 and a range of domestic waste plastics. All other tools and materials will be provided.
  • 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)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Silver wire for the making of jewellery findings. Also emery paper for sanding and finishing.
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


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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