Bronwen Gwillim makes one-off pieces of sculptural jewellery, using industrial waste plastic as well as plastic that she finds washed up on the beaches where she lives in Pembrokeshire. Her design and making ethos is to use what is to hand, to waste little, and to celebrate the natural world. Living by the sea her shapes, forms and mark-making are guided by daily observance of the effects of weather, water and tide. Like treasured pebbles, each of her pieces is different, demanding to be held in the hand and worn as statements.
The Object: The Stacked Pebble Necklace, first year of design 2016
Approximately 7.5 cm across at the widest point, with an adjustable drop varying between 20 cm and 30 cm. Waste plastic collected from the beach, composite plastic (made from resin and the waste dust created when cutting the beach plastic), repurposed silicone tubing, waxed cotton cord. Between £89 and £98.
The Stacked Pebble Necklace is inspired by towers of balanced pebbles on the beach. Pebble shapes rise up each side from a central ‘lodestone’ in an asymmetric yet balanced composition. Each necklace is different but recognisably part of an ongoing series with strong common traits.
Bronwen collects and sorts waste plastic, identifying the types as she goes so that appropriate tools can be used (this is crucial as each type of plastic behaves differently). Only hand tools are used and the process is slow and considered, in stark contrast to the speed at which plastic products are made. Bronwen’s carefully cut pieces are then set into composite resin to make beads, and when set they are filed, sanded and engraved with textures and details. Once completed each bead is then strung by Bronwen onto cord and finished with an adjustable silicone tube fitting.
Best Newcomer MADE London 2019
Bronwen Gwillim on her Signature Style
This design, more than any other, expresses both my personality and the personalities of the women who wear it. It is bold, distinctive and celebrates self-expression, sustainability and resourcefulness. It speaks of the romanticism of walks by the sea, building towers and pebble collecting, as well as engaging with the harsher realities facing our embattled environment and the growing mountains (and islands) of waste plastic. The material-led approach that informs this necklace shows an alternative way of using waste plastic: as a raw resource for making one-off, sculptural, wearable art pieces.
The colour palette that Bronwen selects for her jewellery is unique, vibrant, exciting and at the same time comforting and desirable. Richard Abdy (Wentworth Pewter)