General jewellery with an emphasis on fastenings and findings with Sarah Macrae

Ref: SLW33522

Book now

Places available

About this course

Learn how to integrate fastenings and findings into your designs to make them part of your work, rather than a functional afterthought, Gain inidivdual advice on your ideas and projects.

Course Description

From simple earring hooks to complex hidden necklace fastenings, the way a finding fits with the piece is important to the quality of the finished article. For example, a beautiful necklace can be enhanced by a well thought out, specially designed catch, or devalued by using a bought finding.

Investigate fastenings and findings, looking at ways to integrate them with your design style. You will discover a range of different mechanisms from traditional box catches, and how to vary their shape, to ways of incorporating magnets. You will also look at simple safety eights to other ancient mechanisms, such as the penannular and circle brooch mechanisms, hinge and screw fittings and interlocking fastenings.

The tutor will show slides of examples and bring samples to look at and handle. The tutor will explain how to use fastenings and findings, so they become part of your piece, rather than a functional afterthought.

As well as demonstrations to the whole group, you will have the opportunity to discuss your individual needs throughout the course. You are encouraged to bring a piece you are in the middle of making, if appropriate, to make a catch for, but this is not essential. The tutor aims to support and facilitate whatever you wish to achieve.

You will be generally expected to work in silver, but you can use other metals or materials if appropriate. You should achieve a greater understanding of a range of catches and findings and make at least two. Please note you must be able to solder before attending this course.

The tutor is always happy to talk to you before the course to ensure it is suitable. Please email details of any relevant previous experience and what you would like to achieve on the course to: [email protected] before the course. This will help the tutor plan the best course possible.


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

  • Sketchbook/notebook
  • Any tools
  • Bring examples of your own work, actual pieces or photographs.
  • An apron
  • Shoes that cover your feet (no sandals or flip flops or high heels)
  • Something to tie your hair back with, if it is long

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Silver 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.
  • The shop has basic tool kits to hire (no charge). These consist of pliers, saw, files, etc.

Additional information

Please note – you must be able to solder before attending this course. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no open toes 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

Silver jewellery – stacking rings

23 to 25 Aug 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: Laila Smith |
Suitable for all

Soldering for jewellers

17 Sep 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: Laila Smith |

Developing jewellery techniques – forging and twisting

27 to 30 Sep 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: Sarah Macrae |

Introduction to plastic smithing

4 Oct 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: Bronwen Gwillim |

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