Creative Awakening Retreat
at a Private Château

Discover your inner artist and create something beautiful.

Come away,  learn a new creative skill, feel refreshed, and get your creativity flowing while living in a private château in the quintessential French countryside.

August 8 - 15  &  August 22 - 29, 2022


Imagine Your Creative Awakening Retreat


...sipping champagne while you sit in the great hall of  the privately owned Château de Saint-Germain-des-Prés, as the sun sets and the aroma of a scrumptious supper prepared by a local chef in the kitchen wafts towards you.

It's the end of a wonderful day having  taken a walkabout through the quintessential French countryside to see where Romans walked, soaking up the sights, history and the creative energy from your new friends. You have taken photographs to start the creative process of  making your own archival art piece.

You learned about the ancient wax-based art form, Encaustic, and how photography can be fused with it to create one-of-a-kind art pieces.

Tomorrow morning will be here before you know it, hearing the birds singing, a fresh scent on the summer air, creating the perfect environment to allow joy and creativity to flow...

And that's just the first day!

​You’ll become part of the Manor & Maker community,  creating relationships that could last a lifetime.


I know you know that creating art makes us happy and reduces our stress levels...

And, it's as fun for first-time creators as it is for experienced artists!

Now imagine what an extraordinary, 8 days and 7 nights focused solely on you and art while being filled with inspiration can do! And imagine how feeling relaxed and happy can encourage you to make connections between unrelated things and imagine new ways to create.

That’s why now is the time to give yourself the gift of time and creativity.

Imagine that each day brings a new experience in beautiful surroundings to fuel your artistic mind. Find new creativity in the medium of encaustic. It's ok if you've never worked in (or even heard of!) encaustic before. You’ll have daily direct one-on-one time with your facilitator, and the community support of the other artists in your group, who love being creative as much as you do.

A mix of creative time each day, blended with reflection/free time to explore, percolate and enjoy the surroundings completes the entire experience.

Your choice of August 8th to 15th OR 

August 22nd to 29th, 2022


Are you any of these?

  • Craving a new environment?

  • Looking for time free from distractions?

  • Yearning to experience creative flow and be in the zone?

  • Feeling the need to relax?

  • Seeking studio time, with all your supplies ready for you?

  • Ready to learn a hands-on art technique from an experienced instructor?

  • Wanting to meet like-minded people?

If you answered 'yes' then this retreat is designed with you in mind!

  • You get to experience a brand new environment living in an authentic French chateau, while being distraction-free. You'll have lots of time for the opportunity to get into a state of flow while creating new art, by combining two art mediums to encourage innovative thinking and expanding your creative horizons.

  • All supplies will be there waiting for you to start creating.

  • You'll be guided step by step through the process of fusing photography and encaustic together, while working with a small group of like-minded people.

  • You'll leave the week feeling refreshed, relaxed and having a new mindset of openness.

  • You'll  have reignited the creative force of being able to make connections between unrelated things and feeling more joy.

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Your Private Château

You get to stay in the privately owned,  Château de Saint-Germain-des-Prés,  nestled on 37 acres in the Dordogne countryside, overlooking the town of same name.

We're not open to the public, or as a B&B.

Live the château life in a historic building!

The tower of the chateau is from the 16th century, and features a broad spiral stone staircase. Built by a noble family nearly 500 years ago, the 'blazon' or crest of the family still shows on the tower.  

​Sara and Stephen from Manor & Maker are your hosts. We are thrilled to have you here to be part of the Maker experience at the Manor!

Let us welcome you on the evening of your arrival with a champagne reception, followed by supper prepared by a local chef who prizes traditional French dishes and local ingredients - more on that later it deserves its own section!

All the generously-sized bedrooms include a small seating area with table, tea station, crisp white cotton bed-sheets, duvet, and towels. Two twin beds, which will be joined to create a super-king sized bed for single-occupancy (or on request for double).

Choose a full en-suite, private shower, or shared facilities. Choose your terraces too - overlooking the park or the town!

And the food!

Just-made breads from the boulangerie, lunches enjoyed on the terrace, local dinner dishes prepared by a chef in-house, and let’s not forget French wines!!

My mouth is watering already, is yours?

With an authentic patisserie just steps away, make some room for dessert!

Pasta and Wine

What's Included

  • 7- night stay at Chateau de Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Dordogne.

  • Curriculum regarding photo encaustic including photo shoots, photo editing, printing, surface prep, introduction to encaustic, photo transfer.

  • All encaustic supplies for creation of 3 art pieces to take home (more supplies for purchase on-site if you choose to make more pieces).

  • Open studio time with expert guidance to answer any questions. The workshop & studio time is conducted in English.

  • Free studio time and use of all encaustic equipment.

  • Transportation from and to Thiviers train station.

  • All your on-site meals for your stay. Suppers prepared by a local chef, and accompanied by local wine or your non-alcoholic beverage of choice.

  • Champagne reception on evening of arrival.

  • Gentle hike of the public walks through the hamlet and environs, and private walks of chateau grounds with instructor drawing inspiration.

  • Thursday farmers’ market experience, highlighting local foods and vendors.

  • Admittance to Historic Monument artwork in the church in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

  • Use of chateau common rooms, park, and grounds. Accommodation on-site, in single- or double-occupancy bedrooms.

Your Dedicated Facilitator

Hello friends!

Creating art can be transformational for everyone, from people who believe they don’t have a creative bone in their body to professional artists.  Being creative and participating in art stimulates parts of the brain to think outside the box and helps us make connections between seemingly unrelated things. *


I promise I will use all my teaching experience to lead you on a journey of fun to encourage your inner artist to come out of its shell. And yes, I have a lot of adult teaching experience, from teaching people how to ride motorcycles to step by step darkroom technique demos, classroom theory lectures and of course encaustic painting techniques.


It's a good day when I inspire, encourage, or motivate you.


I love to work with people and adapt to their personal learning goals so that they can incorporate what they are looking for from a creative experience. Watching the joy happen is the best thing ever!

I love creating photo encaustics because of its tactical properties and it smells delicious! From the very first step of being behind the camera and the world becomes quiet to the very end of framing the finished artwork it’s a joy.

Creativity in and of itself, inside the studio and out, is important for remaining healthy, remaining connected to yourself and connected to the world and we all know the world needs positive input right now. I'm so looking forward to all that positivity with you!


You can find the most recent going ons  on a few different platforms. Facebook, Instagram

*Front. Neural Circuits, 22 March 2019


What is Encaustic?

Encaustic is a Greek word meaning “to heat or burn in” (enkaustikos).

It is an ancient technique, dating back to the ancient Greeks.

It is a very stable medium, made from heated beeswax and dammar resin. There are surviving encaustic works from the 1st and 3rd centuries which were found in Egypt. The color on these has remained noticeably fresh due to the protection of the beeswax.


The natural bees wax and dammar resin (crystallized tree sap), are heated and mixed together. It can be applied in this form or color can be added with the aid of powered pigments or oil paints.

The encaustic medium is melted and applied with a brush or any tool the artist wishes to create from, while the medium is still hot. Each layer then needs to be heated to fuse it to the previous layer, slowly building up the art piece.

It's an ideal medium to embed photography in the artwork


What shall I bring beside my regular travel gear?

  • Camera, either your smart phone or digital camera.

  • Laptop with some kind of photo editing software. There are good free programs out there, if you would like some help installing one contact Elske.

  • Good walking shoes.

  • And your own mind!

Looking forward to seeing you!

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What is not included

  • Airfare

  • Transportation to Thiviers train station

  • Passport and visa expenses

  • Baggage, accident, nor cancellation insurance*

  • Personal expenses, such as laundry, telephone calls

  • Alcoholic beverages not served at meals at the chateau

  • and any other items not specifically noted as included

*we strongly encourage you to have insurance, there is nothing worse than having a calamity befall you and you have no safety net to help.