Collection: Heirloom Santa Retreat

Four Day - Five Night Lake House Art Retreat

July  18-19-20-21, 2022

PROJECT:  Polar Bear Express “Heirloom Santa”

Limited to 5 participants


This four day, five night art retreat takes place on a beautiful lake located in a hamlet in Quebec's Outaouais region. Only 40 minutes from downtown Ottawa and Canada's Capital, the lake house offers stunning views from inside the house and studio with spectacular views of the lake during sunset. Canadian Cottage life at it’s best.

 Arrivals on Sunday, July 17th – Meet and Greet 5pm followed by  Dinner - Departures Friday, July 22, 2022 

Monday – Thursday – workshop hours:  9am to 12noon and 1pm to 5pm: Studio time after dinner

Meals:  Breakfast from 7:00am to 8:30am;  Morning Snacks at 10:00am:  Lunch 12:00pm to 1:00pm : Afternoon snacks at 2:30pm: Dinner at 6:00pm with wine or beer : Evening snacks and drinks provided


All-Inclusive Rates:                                            Prices per person in US dollars

Does not include airfare 

Single Occupancy (artist)

$1,500. USD Per person

Double occupancy (two artists in the same bedroom)

$1,350. USD Per person


  • Accommodations
  • Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, beverages)
  • Optional Activities: morning Tai Chi, hiking, evening arts & crafts
  • 4 full days of instruction
  • All supplies, tools and materials required for the workshop
  • Packaging for your completed work

 Features and Amenities include:  open plan living, dining and kitchen area

  • 2 full bathrooms in house for shared use
  • View-facing workshop room
  • Quiet, serene with beautiful spacious views
  • Internet access
  • Laundry facilities
  • Photos available by clicking link below

Hotel options are available to participants who would like to extend their stay to view the sights in Ottawa, Canada’s Capital.


Payment: Payment can be made on this page or your can contact Maria Saracino to reserve your spot and arrange payment. Contact Maria Saracino directly at or call 613-762-1200 
Payment plan available. Schedule to be determined individually.
Deposit of $350. Is non-refundable. If cancellation occurs after July 1st, there is no refund. We understand that last minute emergencies, illnesses or conflicts come up that cannot be controlled, but due to committed expenses and limited spaces for this course, we are unable to make exception. To protect from an unforeseen personal emergency, consider purchasing travel insurance. If a course is cancelled by us, you will be given the choice to transfer to another date, or have all money paid refunded to you.
Final payment or Balance due by July 1, 2022.

Course Outline:

 Day One:  Sculpting the face, and the mitts  in polymer clay. Begin process for sculpting boots. After dinner studio time optional.

 Day Two:   Finish Sculpting the boots in polymer clay. Proportion and creating the body armature. Painting Eyes. Making Accessories: Woven Basket and bag, Books, toys, etc. . .   After dinner studio time optional

 Day Three:  Continuation of Making Accessories as well as Accessorizing the Polar Bear. Creating the costume and dressing Santa. Working with real and synthetic furs. After dinner studio time optional

 Day Four:  Santa’s hair and beard. Putting it all together and the important finishing touches. After dinner studio time optional. Packaging

 BONUS:  Sculpting hands. Making a skull push mold

 BONUS: Participants receive take home gifts that include tools, clay samples, information, resource and template binder, mold making Kits & more!

 Topics of discussion and demonstration during course:

  • Adding value to your work
  • Choosing fabrics and furs
  • Selling your work
  • Working efficiently and increasing productivity


About the Artist and Heirloom Santa

  My name is Maria Saracino and I’m an award-winning master polymer clay artist. I love creating figurative sculptures, portraits and other polymer art, but I also enjoy sharing my creative process both online and in live workshops.

  My heirloom Father Christmas characters are collected around the world and in the last 27 years I’ve made close to 1,000 original Christmas figures - with Santa standing out as one of the most popular characters. My Father Christmas characters have won a DOTY Award, The One of a Kind Classic and numerous other competitions and they have been featured in museum exhibits, galleries, magazines and book publications.

I’m not the only one who loves Christmas – Making an heirloom Santa is my most requested workshop - but due to time and space restrictions I don’t often offer this course. The pandemic hasn't helped either, but this year is different. I’m offering this heirloom Santa workshop as a vacation art retreat where we can submerge ourselves in the whole process and enjoy the company of fellow artists in a beautiful lake house in Quebec’s Outaouais region just 40 minutes from downtown Ottawa and the Parliament Buildings.

The project I’ve chosen is a unique presentation of a northern Santa riding on a Polar Bear. Although the Polar Bear is a found object and is included in the workshop, the Santa and each of his accessories and his basket will be hand-made during the retreat. All supplies, tools and materials are included.  

It’s going to be an amazing 4 days of creativity. I can hardly wait to have this art retreat experience with you.




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