Introduction to plastic smithing with Bronwen Gwillim

Ref: S1D32018

Location: West Dean
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Places available

About this course

Using materials collected by yourself and the tutor, learn how to identify a range of waste plastic types and how to safely cut, shape, embellish and finish with silver findings to make stunning pieces of jewellery.

Course Description

Learn about waste plastic, its various types and characteristics and how you can use simple hand tools to cut, shape and embellish it to make bold contemporary jewellery in this stimulating and fast paced course.

A materials-based approach to design will encourage experimentation and working intuitively with the tools. Pieces will evolve organically in real time through hands-on exploration, constant assessment and adaptation rather than pre-imagining finished pieces.

The morning will be spent exploring ways of identifying different plastic types and the safety issues associated with each, before swiftly moving on to start cutting and shaping plastic to make jewellery components. In the afternoon, participants will learn how to add marks, colour, texture and silver findings in order to complete a small collection of pieces such as brooches, earrings and pendants.

The sessions will be structured around a series of short presentations and practical demonstrations, with the bulk of the time allocated for hands-on making, creative experimentation and sharing ideas and discoveries.

By the end of the course, you will have:

•Considered the range of waste plastic available and suitable for making jewellery

•Employed an intuitive and materials-based approach to design

•Used a range of tools and techniques for cutting, shaping and adding texture and colour to plastic

•Produced a range of jewellery pieces

•Taken away useful handouts and resource lists

Course Materials


  • On this course, the tutor will supply all the materials, including waste plastics, resins and glues, stains, eco silver wire, findings, cord and dust masks.

What students need to bring

  • Apron, notebook and pencils
  • You can also bring examples of domestic waste and industrial or beach plastics to explore (although the tutor will also be providing plastics suitable for use).

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Smooth jawed pliers

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

General Information


Bronwen Gwillim portrait

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.

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