Decorative beads and small hollow forms in mixed materials with Sarah Macrae


Ref: SLW11999

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About this course

Learn to make decorative beads and small hollow forms for jewellery or miniature containers. Experiment with making patterns for asymmetric shapes, form and surface decoration, using fine soldering and decorative techniques.

Course Description

The aim of this course is to develop ideas for interesting decorative beads, or small hollow forms that may be incorporated into jewellery. You should produce several interesting and unique hollow beads or containers using forming and construction processes in silver or base metal possibly incorporating another material. Decorative techniques such as turning, etching, roller printing and oxidising can be used.

The principal material used on this course is silver but depending on your ideas and inclinations other materials may be incorporated, for example, copper, brass, steel, exotic hardwoods, acrylic, light collecting acrylic rod, soapstone, slate, or silk. There will be a selection of materials available to use but you are welcome to bring your own.

The first evening will have a presentation looking at images of decorative beads and small hollow forms along with with samples and we will look at different ways to construct hollow forms.

You will be encouraged to spend some time on the first morning thinking and experimenting with materials, drawing or making models while the tutor spends time with you individually looking at the suitability of your ideas and advising on the best way to proceed to realise your designs. There will be inspirational material and samples available to help if you are unsure about what you would like to make. The course continues with individual help and encouragement offered where needed, finishing with a review of the work produced.


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

What students need to bring

  • If you want to work mainly in silver you should order metal in advance and bring it with you. Your tutor is happy to advise by email before the start of the course. Please contact her through the the bookings office by emailing
  • An apron
  • Shoes that cover your feet, no open toes
  • Hair tied back, if it’s long

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Copper sheet and wire, brass sheet and wire, silver sheet and wire.
  • Silver, copper and brass can be purchased from the College Shop which stocks a range of sheet, wire, rod, tube and findings. These will be available in set sizes and lengths suitable for a wide range of projects.
  • Available from tutor:
  • There may be a small charge for materials brought by the tutor if students wish to use them. The tutor will supply some of the materials including wood, acrylic, soapstone, light collecting acrylic, slate, silk, and steel.
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toed shoes or sandals.


Sarah Macrae

Sarah graduated Brighton Polytechnic in 1981 and has combined her studio practice as a jeweller with teaching part time. A member of The Designer Jewellers Group, she has exhibited at the Barbican Arts Centre (London) for the last twenty eight years. In 2000 Sarah was invited to write an introduction to Jewellery for Crowood Press and she features in several youtube videos. Sarah's work can be seen on Facebook and Instagram.


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

Courses of interest

Interested in a career in metalwork?

Our Foundation Degree in Metalwork will enhance your employment prospects, give you the skills to set up as a self-employed craftsperson or allow you to continue to higher education. Encompassing both silversmithing and blacksmithing, you will learn practical skills, material properties, placing your work in a broader context and historic metalworking techniques. Find out more

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