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Learn to turn clay into beautiful silver jewelry to treasure forever. Design and craft your own luxurious jewellery whilst staying in a beautifully restored 150-year old farmhouse in the heart of Gascony, South West France. It’s not all work and no play - your hosts will also make sure that you have time to relax and to sample the delights of Gascony, which is a gourmet’s paradise for food, wine, and Armagnac.
During your course, you will stay at Baron-Figués, which is part of a gorgeous 150-year-old farmhouse with three beautifully appointed en-suite twin or double bedrooms. One of the main attractions of this farmhouse is its large and open traditional kitchen. This accommodation combines the wonders of rural Gascony, modern-home comforts of a traditional French farmhouse, and unbeatable food and wine experiences that will stay with you forever.
The itinerary is for guidance only and is subject to change depending on the group’s needs and wishes. This holiday can be tailored to meet the needs of the group. From private helicopter transfers to special private tours, please contact France Holiday Plus to discuss your personal requirements and your holiday is ensured to be exactly as you want it to be.
Arrive at Agen train station to be greeted by your hosts before being driven to the farmhouse where your holiday will begin. Settle into your charming room before getting to know your fellow students over delicious aperitifs. Enjoy a social evening with a three-course gourmet dinner served in the farmhouse kitchen, along with a short introduction from your hosts about what to expect over the next few days
You will go to a local and delightful village market for coffee and croissants to discuss your first project designs with the rest of the group and your tutor Caroline. You will choose something natural of your choice, such as a leaf, before returning to the studio to begin creating the jewelry of your own choice. Caroline will teach you the basic techniques of using precious metal clay (PMC) to give you maximum freedom to develop your own designs.
Lunch will be served by the pool or in the farmhouse kitchen with views of the countryside all around to help inspire your creative side. Those needing guidance for ideas will be supported throughout the week. In the afternoon, you will learn about the processes of designing, creating, and finishing your pieces, including how to use tools such as kilns, torch burners, sanding, and polishing tools
Once your fine silver piece is finished, you will be taught on how to add findings and beads to make your jewelry ready to wear. There will be free time to use all the on-site facilities before aperitifs are served by the pool. A three-course gourmet meal will then be served in the grounds or the farmhouse kitchen, accompanied with local delicious wines.
After breakfast, you will create a ring design and be taught the techniques for correct sizing and achieving your chosen design. There are several techniques to ring-making, which will be covered on this day from texturing, carving, and stone setting. A delicious lunch will be served by the pool or in the farmhouse kitchen. After lunch, you will fire and polish your ring to create the finished product.
Early evening, you will visit a family-run Armagnac distillery (which Gascony is famous for) and learn how it is made, the history behind it and, more importantly, tasting before returning for dinner back at the farmhouse.
Following breakfast, you will try other types of metal clay in the workshop and learn how they work and are fired. You can try using bronzes and coppers, or what is available for your week. You will have fun making your chosen designs using different clay and new techniques. Lunch will be served by the pool or in the farmhouse kitchen depending on the season.
In the late afternoon, you will visit a beautiful chateau famous for its aperitifs and wines for an afternoon of wine tasting. Dinner will be served back at the farmhouse, giving you time to relax in the lounge or by the swimming pool, or to take advantage of one of the on-site activities such as table tennis and cycling.
After breakfast, you will choose your glass and colors and learn how to prepare the glass for fusing. Once made, these can be used in learning the techniques for setting stones and setting them in one of your own designs. In the late morning, you will go to the pretty market town of Condom for coffee and a chat with local artists living in the area to gain an insight into their creative vision and which will help give you ideas for new designs.
Lunch will be taken out in Condom with the group, before returning to the farmhouse to finish your projects or to just relax. A three-course gourmet meal will then be served in the grounds or the farmhouse kitchen in the evening.
Enjoy a leisure breakfast before your workshop for the day. You will learn all the techniques required to add color to your metal clay pieces using enamels. The enamels will help you learn which colors work well and the different processes of using enamels, which require a kiln and which do not require a kiln. Lunch will be served by the pool or in the farmhouse kitchen.
After lunch, some time will be spent giving advice to those who wish to start a business using metal clay and photos will be taken of the finished work. You will also have time to think of the design for your final project tomorrow, which will be a larger piece. You will learn the technique of making hollow forms as well, which is perfect for creating hollow forms, such as classical silver ball earrings or a beautiful textured bead pendant. The technique of using cork clay will also be taught.
Before dinner, a trip to the local vineyard for wine tasting will be a very relaxing way to finish the day and you will enjoy tasting infamous Gascony wines. A three-course gourmet meal will then be served back at the farmhouse.
After breakfast, you will spend the morning finishing your final project. Make the finishing touches to your jewelry by adding beautiful jump rings or ear wires. You will then learn how to get the best light and background for photographing your work and ways of presenting them in a gift box to show your designs off to their best potential.
Enjoy a leisure lunch at noon, which will be served in the gardens or in the farmhouse kitchen before spending the afternoon finishing your projects or simply relaxing and soaking up in the sun. For your final night, a special celebratory dinner will be served as you reflect on what you have learnt with your fellow guests and showcase your beautiful finished products to the room, reflecting on how much you have learnt over the week.
After breakfast, you will be asked to check out by 10:00. You are welcome to relax and enjoy some free time if your flight is not until later in the day, before being taken to the airport or train station for your return journey. You will return home with fantastic memories, beautiful unique jewelry, memories, and new skills to last you a lifetime.
Caroline and her husband, Adam, have decided to leave their comfortable life in Kent and headed off for a new adventure in France with their four young children. The summers spent vacationing by the Mediterranean had instilled in them a love for the outdoor life. Looking back, this was probably madness, as they had little knowledge of France and no real idea of what they were coming to. Caroline, a qualified teacher for over 20 years, loves her work running PMC Studio France. She enjoys meeting fascinating people from all over the world who come to learn or enjoy a relaxing holiday.
After working in global consulting and finance, Adam jumped at the chance to rebalance his life more in favor of family. Adam's passion for food and wine has been cultivated during these early years and he has honed his skills over the last decade living in “Garden of France”, an area rich in gastronomic delights, fabulous wines, and amazing Armagnacs. For Adam, cooking is a journey through the senses. Next to him, you will understand how local produce is made and the traditions behind it.
This holiday will take place in Gascony, France. Gascony is an undiscovered region of Southwest France, so there's no chance that you will have to wrestle with crowds when you go to sample the wonders that make this region so special. You will quickly learn why Gascony is famed for its sumptuous local produce and seasonal recipes and you will realize that the locals take their food very seriously.
If you are partial to a cheeky little treat, Gascony is one of the main producers of foie gras. It's not just mouth-watering food you have to look forward to. You can't visit Gascony without trying out the fruits of the vine. Wherever you walk, you will be able to see the many vineyards sprawling over the hills and valleys and discover that the wines are individual, full of character, and exquisite.
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All daily meals, drinks, and tasting are included in the total cost of this holiday. You will have the chance to enjoy a three-course gourmet dinners and wine tasting.
All extracurricular activities on your holiday are free. If you don't feel like taking a trip after your lessons, you can try on-site table tennis, basketball, horse riding, shooting, archery, and cycling, or you may just like to relax by the heated pool with a glass of soul-warming Armagnac. There is also a great selection of board games that will amuse you during the warm nights and let you enjoy the company of other guests.
Please book your flight to arrive at Toulouse Blagnac Airport (TLS), Bordeaux-Mrignac Airport (BOD), or Bergerac Dordogne Prigord Airport (EGC). Transfer from and to these airports are available upon request.
The closest train station is Agen train station. French Holidays Plus will pick you up from the train station. The pick-up is included in the price.
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