Contemporary and traditional bead threading with Penny Davis

Ref: SWE09293

Suitable for all

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About this course

Learn how to work with beads to create jewellery and make a range of necklaces which may include antique and semi-precious beads.

Course Description

Learn the art of bead jewellery to a professional standard. After familiarisation with tools and threading techniques, make a range of necklaces which may include antique and semi-precious beads.

During this course you will learn how to thread and knot to a professional standard, and apply this knowledge to create your own designs using beads and a variety of threading materials.

You work through six techniques on a small scale then individually on specific interest projects. These techniques will provide you with a good repertoire of methods that will enable you to tackle your own designs. These will include using tigertail, bonded nylon thread, leather, and cord for large holed beads, knotting between beads and pearls, and the use of calottes, crimps, gimp, and clasps.

Once you have sampled these techniques you will then begin to work on your own ideas. Design issues are also covered during the experimental work from both a practical point of view as well as an aesthetic one.In order to fully benefit from the creative potential of this course, please bring as wide a selection of beads as possible.

We start straight away on the first evening, covering three or four different techniques. This session introduces you to a lot of the materials and tools that are used when working with beads. The other techniques are covered the following morning, followed by an illustrated talk, demonstrating a wide range of examples and reasons behind design decisions. We will also look at the limitations and requirements of specific beads. You will then begin to work on your own projects and designs.

At the end of the course we will have a short review in order to share experiences, solutions and challenges.


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


  • Included in the course fee is a range of basic materials that are available for the group to use.

What students need to bring

  • You may well make up to five necklaces during this course so start collecting beads and clasps in preparation. It is a good idea to have a wide variety of beads, in different sizes, shapes and colours to ensure a good choice during the course. Bring a selection of clasps, if possible, such as bolt rings, trigger clasps, 'S' hooks, rings and bars, box catches and even magnetic clasps. Good sources of beads and materials are junk shops, bead shops, charity shops, and boot fairs so have fun looking!
  • In addition, please bring:
  • Beads - lots of them
  • Close up glasses
  • Clasps and catches
  • Hands free magnifiers (the College has some available for use during the course)
  • Tape measure

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Small round-nose pliers
  • Small snipe-nose pliers
  • Small wire cutter
  • Scissors
  • Available from tutor:
  • A small selection of beads, threads and findings available for sale from the tutor

"The access to an expert tutor was invaluable and extra evening hours in the workshops to practice what I'd learned during the day gave me the time and space to cement my learning. The course that I took was niche but that was just what I needed to grow my skills. Class size was perfect - not too big or small and the facilities were excellent."

Becca, 2019


Penny Davis

Penny initially trained in Sheffield in Jewellery and Silversmithing, then studied enamelling at the Sir John Cass in London. She has been teaching for 20 years at universities, colleges and schools. Her work can be found at Studio Fusion Gallery, London, of which she is also a director.


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

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