If you are someone who loves the beauty of silver and are interested in creating your own works...
If you want to be inspired by French design while staying at a private château, then
Join an unforgettable retreat that blends creativity and craftsmanship in a uniquely inspiring setting.
stepping into a world where time seems to slow, as the gentle breeze rustles through ancient trees and sunlight dances upon the 16th century tower.
On the first night of our silversmith retreat at the private château, you'll be greeted by the soft melodies of birdsong, a supper prepared by a Le Cordon Bleu Chef, and the sparkle of champagne, creating an atmosphere of serenity that stirs your creative senses.
Amidst historic architecture and bucolic grounds, you'll embark on a journey of craftsmanship, forging meaningful connections with fellow artisans against a backdrop of authentic France.
Enjoy a champagne reception with your fellow artisans as you get to to know your hosts and the Château de Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Savour your first supper prepared by Gourmet by Anne Stuart Folkes.
Craft Your Personalized Trio of Silver Stacking Rings
Begin your silversmith experience by crafting three elegant stacking rings. Guided by Julie, you'll learn the fundamentals of working with silver. From shaping to soldering, this day introduces you to the core techniques that lay the foundation for the retreat.
Exploring Silver Clay Techniques
Step into the versatile realm of silver clay. Experiment with various shaping and texturing methods, resulting in unique pieces like pendants and charms. This day encourages you to embrace the tactile nature of silver clay and create pieces that resonate with you.
Embrace an enriching day in the Dordogne region, curated to ignite your creativity. Guided by our local hosts, explore thrifting silver & gems, attend expos, or wander historic chateaux. Uncover unexpected sparks of inspiration while immersing yourself in the local culture, all while our hosts ensure a day tailored to your silversmithing journey.
Diving into Filigree Jewelry Design
Explore the art of filigree—a technique characterized by delicate wirework. You'll discover the basics of weaving and shaping silver to create intricate designs. This day is about mastering patience and precision as you craft jewelry pieces that reflect the charm of filigree craftsmanship.
Mastering Stone Setting Techniques
Learn the art of stone setting. From bezel to prong settings, you'll gain a comprehensive understanding of incorporating stones into your creations. This day emphasizes the technical skills needed to add an extra layer of sophistication to your silversmithing repertoire.
Translate your newfound skills into a final project that embodies your unique style. This culmination is a testament to your growth throughout the retreat. By infusing your personal touch into every detail, you'll leave with a piece that encapsulates your journey.
Gather with your fellow artisans in the evening to share your creations and celebrate your successes!
Head home feeling relaxed, and with some new me-made silverworks!
Please note: We might adjust this itinerary due to the usual reasons - weather, group direction, or unplanned opportunities!
Live the Château Life
Enjoy the château common rooms and 15 ha of grounds during your 7-night stay.
Bedrooms are generously sized, with a small seating area.
Mix of en-suite and shared facilities - max 2 bedrooms share w.c. or shower.
Rooms are first-come, first-served by reservation date.
Double-occupancy with two single beds, or single-occupancy for a supplement.
Stay with a small group of like-minded people - limit of 10 guests.
Authentic French Cuisine
Champagne reception on evening of arrival!
Continental breakfast with pastries fresh from the boulangerie just steps away.
Share lunch with your hosts each day.
Suppers at the château, prepared by a Le Cordon Bleu Chef
Wine or non-alcoholic beverage of your choice.
Tea & coffee all day, plus snacks and aperitif too!
Become a Silverworker
No experience required!
Supplies will be waiting for you to start creating.
You'll be guided step-by-step through the process of working with silver.
Additional supplies available for purchase on-site.
Free studio time and use of all equipment with expert guidance to answer any questions.
Relax, learn, create, and have fun!
Meet Your Hosts
“If you want to change the world, make something beautiful” -- Charlie Peacock
Greetings! I'm Julie, a devoted silversmith and mentor. My artistic journey began collecting sea glass with my Gran, a cherished memory that ignited my passion for crafting beauty. Today, I weave dreams with crystals, natural stones, sea glass, silver, and beads.
My formal training started in the 1990s, enriched by endless courses and a treasure trove of silversmithing books. Teaching has been my joy since 2009, nurturing talents in jewelry making. From church halls, to my tranquil garden studio, to a grand chateau, I cultivate an oasis of inspiration.
Imagine a retreat where craftsmanship meets creativity, where you'll discover silversmithing, beading, & wire work, infusing your creations with stories and emotion. Beyond exquisite pieces, you'll discover a profound connection to your own creativity—a promise that will forever shimmer in your heart.
Explore your world of artistry and imagination. Let's shape dreams into reality, one masterpiece at a time.
Meet Sara & Stephen
We are Sara & Stephen Cole, Canadians who dreamt of moving to France. We're excited to share our dream, our home, the Château de Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
The tower of the château 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.
We created “Manor and Maker” to reflect the two sides of our adventure. One, to live as chateau owners with all the ups and downs and two, to pursue our passions as makers, creating art in all its forms. We invite others to come together, united by their passions, to share in this adventure.
We will be available on-site to ensure you have a comfortable stay.
Welcome to Manor & Maker.
Julie's Workshop Testimonials
Where do I start?! We visited today to make our wedding bands as we wanted the whole experience to be as personal as possible; this exceeded all of our expectations. I've been smiling ear to ear all day. Thank you Julie for making everything so special.
Thank you Julie! What a lovely time it was and you were amazing helping and giving us advice while we made our jewelry. I love my necklace!
A truly amazing experience, so welcoming and thoroughly enjoyable. Love our new earrings. I loved spending Mother's Day with my girls. Thank you Julie for a great day with great people.
A really great experience. I visited with a friend. We both made individual pieces which Julie helped us design. She was very patient and explained the different techniques really well. Very happy with the bracelet I made.
Start Your Retreat Today!
Reserve your spot by completing the registration form (step 1) then paying your deposit (step 2). Use the notes section to let us know if you have any special accomodation requests, or if you're bringing a friend.
We'll be in touch within 24 hours confirming all is well (don't forget to check your spam or junk folder).
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL UNTIL JANUARY 31, 2024
Double Occupancy €2995 pp (Regular €3495)
Single Occupancy €3295 pp (Regular €3795)
Book with a friend for an extra €100 off!
Something special you can use during your stay & take home after will be waiting for you!
That's €100 for your referral, or €50 each if you want to share!
Step 2: Pay Deposit(s)
To secure your spot(s), we require a €500 deposit for each attendee. Early Bird & Referral discounts are applied to the final payment (due in 30 days).
If you're booking for yourself, just complete the PayPal payment below. If you're thinking of booking for more than one person, read on:
Option 1 - Pay for Everyone Now:
Want to take care of all the details in one go? You can make the process seamless by paying the €500 deposit for yourself and your friends. Select the number of participants and submit your payment below, and you're all set! No need to wait for anyone else – your spots are confirmed instantly.
Option 2 - Invite Friends to Join:
If you're not ready to cover everyone's deposit, no worries! You can invite your friends to complete their own registration forms. Simply share the link to our event page, and your friends can easily fill in their information and pay their individual deposits. This way, everyone gets to secure their spot at their own pace. Please do add some notes in the registration form so we know who is travelling together.
What's Not Included
Transportation from your hometown to the pickup point, including airfare, train connections, or car rental
Baggage, accident, cancellation, nor travel insurance ('cancel for any reason' strongly recommended to protect your investment)
Passport and visa expenses
Personal expenses, such as telephone calls
Meals not served at the château
Alcoholic beverages not served at meals at the château
Any extra tours or excursions off the property, should you choose to roam
and any other items not specifically noted as included
Frequently Asked Questions
I don't have a lot of experience working with silver. Is this retreat for me?
Yes! If you love silver & learning new skills, this retreat is for you! Julie will guide you through the silversmith processes step-by-step. Join in and create something beautiful!
Is this retreat suitable for someone with dexterity challenges?
Absolutely, this retreat can accommodate individuals with various needs, including challenges with dexterity. We understand the importance of creating an environment where participants can enjoy their experience.
If you have any specific concerns or requirements related to your dexterity challenges, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're here to work with you and ensure that your retreat experience is enriching, enjoyable, and tailored to your needs.
Join us for a rejuvenating retreat and let us take care of the details, so you can focus on creating wonderful memories and connections.
Where are you located & how do I get there?
We are in the town of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Dordogne, postal code 24160 (there are a couple of more places of that name in France!). Here's our guide on how to get to us. We offer pickups from Gare d'Angoulême. (may be scheduled with other guests' arrivals) or Thiviers Gare.
Do I need to speak French?
No, your hosts can help you with all local needs. It's always nice to be able to say 'hello' (Bonjour!) and 'thank you' (Merci!) though, isn't it?
Do I have to share a room?
This is a great opportunity to create complementary silver pieces with your family member, your bestie, or your future partner. While we offer a single supplement option for those seeking solitude, some guests find that sharing a room enhances the sense of community and creates wonderful opportunities for new friendships. Rest assured, we carefully match roommates based on preferences and interests, ensuring a harmonious and enjoyable co-living experience for all. Your comfort and connections are our top concern.
May I arrive earlier or stay later than the given dates?
Much as we love having guests, we aren't open as a B&B, so accommodation is only available on the listed dates. There is lots to explore in our area, if you wish to make your own plans to extend your holiday.
Can you accommodate my food sensitivity?
France is famous for its fine cuisine, fresh produce markets, delicious pastries and cheeses! Enjoy chef-prepared suppers all week; the taste of France is part of your immersive experience. Due to hospitality laws, we cannot offer restaurant style selections or service; unfortunately, severely restrictive diets and other food sensitivities can not be accommodated.
What if I get sick and can't come? (Cancellation Policy)
We strongly recommend 'cancel for any reason' travel insurance. We do not offer last-minute refunds for any reason, due to advance planning costs. Check out the terms & conditions for other timing. Travel insurance protects your investment, and helps alleviate disappointment if your plans have to change.
What will the weather be like?
Day time temperatures in May are around 22C (72F) with night time lows around 13C (55F). You can expect mostly sunny days, with average monthly precipitation of 25mm (1 in). Of course, these are averages, so weather could be warmer or cooler, rainier or sunnier during your stay.
What should I bring?
Bring something to create in that you dont mind if it gets marked while your creativity is unleashed. We'll provide supplies & aprons. Bring an open attitude to try new things & new activities. Pack a good pair of walking shoes if you want to try the local trails.