The CAS time machine was ready to go on August 26th in Madison, as CAS Collectors gathered from far and near. Inside the spacious, brightly-decorated Redwood Room of the Howard Johnson Plaza, a fabulous, festive, party to end all parties was underway! The big event was finally here: the 2017 CAS Collectors Convention, “Ceramic Arts Studio: Past, Present, & Future!”

After a day spent trolling for treasures at the WPA Show & Sale, the crowd of Convention attendees was ready for fun – and fun they found! There was a “souvenir stand”, well-stocked with take-home novelties. . .a “CAS Trivia” game. . . “Silent Auction” tables. . .and a colorful “back to the future” décor to set the mood. Our CAS Raffle again did brisk business, thanks to a magnificent quilt, created and donated by Bunny Lenburg (the lucky winner: Alice Noltemeyer).


The annual Club Auction proceeded at a peppy pace, under the leadership of our talented auctioneers Shawn and David Slotten. Many wonderful items were on the bill, including such rarely seen pieces as a Flower Child pair.  


And, as always, there were prizes galore, bringing smiles to many faces! Among the dizzying array:


·         Door Prizes! Our beautiful orchid centerpieces were designed by Convention Coordinator Barb Bowers, with CAS figurines selected by Bunny Lenburg. Also awarded: classic movie posters. (Door prize winners: Barb Bowers, Greg Everson, Lori Johnson, Hank Kuhlmann, Anita Guzik-Miller, Charles Guzik-Miller, Sara Preez, David Slotten, Shawn Slotten, Gerry Stoeberl, and Marlys Wilkinson.)

·         “Earliest Earlybird Contest” (a CAS Commemorative Frog Tile was awarded to drawing winner Gerry Stoeberl).

·         Our 2017 Convention Poster, (a depiction of Adonis & Aphrodite), won by George Wm. Holland.

·         A CAS Grand Prize pair, Harlequin & Columbine, won by Marlys Wilkinson.


In addition to a surplus of souvenirs, (including Star Wars headbands), each Convention attendee also took home a 2017 Commemorative – the clever CAS Twin Planters, designed by Lisa Louis, and emblazoned with the club logo.


Then, there were the “On Display” winners. This marked the fourteenth year for the contest, which gives club members the opportunity to creatively display their CAS pieces in themed categories. The themes change each year, and of course so do the winners. Here are the results from Convention 2017:


  • “Most Imaginative: The CAS Memorial Award” (in honor of Millie, Flossie, Martha, Rose, Helen, Gertie, Pat, & Ruth)

Winner: Anita Guzik-Miller, “A Warm Welcome.” (CAS explorers make it to America’s shores, and find the CAS Indian Group planning a toasty get-together!)

  • “Funniest” (The “Reuben, Margaret, & Itzy Memorial Award”)     

(Winner: Barb Bowers, “Yum, Says the Lion”. (A hungry Lion, a squad of CAS Angels, and the House Mouse in his sportscar. A truly hilarious original!)

  • “Best Use of Accessories (CAS or non-CAS)” (The “Sid, Karl, & Shy Memorial Award”)

Winner: Donald-Brian Johnson, “The Music Maker”. (Liberace’s visits to CAS to call on his stepmother Zona, illustrated with CAS and music memorabilia.)

  • “Celebrate The Past: Best Use of CAS To Depict A Scene From Days Gone By”

Winner: Lisa Louis, “CAS Past-Present-Future”. (From the Gay 90s couple at an antique store, to the Harem Trio with a crystal ball, are eras are covered!)

  • “No Time Like The Present: Best Use of CAS To Depict A Present Day Scene”

Winner: Jane Wilkinson Stevens, “Welcome To The USA”. (The “Wee” kids, in futile search of a friendly face at the Bureau of Immigration.)

  • “Flights of Fancy: Best Use of CAS To Depict A Scene From The Future”

Winner: Laurie Zelnio, “CAS Blast Off To Space”. (A rocket ship, a new planet – and all your CAS favorites in “space helmets”!)

  • “Thoroughly Modern: Best Use of CAS Modern Dance Or Theatre Figurines”

Winner: Laurie Zelnio, “Dance Around The Maypole”. (The Dance Modernes, Bruce & Beth, and other CAS modern cohorts twirl around a futuristic Maypole.)

  • “Mouse In The House: Best Tribute to our “Club Mascot”, Mr. Mouse

Winner: Hank Kuhlmann, “He’s A Trickster”. (Mr. Mouse, with his Diary, and some of his favorite icebreakers: a rubber pencil, whoopee cushions, and more!)

  • “Themes Like Old Times: Display Best Depicting A Past Convention Theme”

Winner: Laurie Zelnio, “An All American CAS Celebration”. (A red, white, and blue salute to our 2010  Convention theme, with plenty of stars and stripes!)

  • “As Betty Intended: Display Best Capturing The Style and Spirit of Betty Harrington”

Winner: Pat Johnson, “Dancing With The Stars”. (The Ballet Dancer Man & Woman, seated amidst a sky of clouds and stars.)


The winner in our brand-new “Remote Photo Entry” category, for those unable to attend the Convention, was Mary Lamm-Feltman, for “Mr. Mouse’s Summer”. Our favorite critter, Mr. Mouse, was pictured basking in his backyard pool, on a flamingo floaty!


And, last but certainly not least, (drum roll, please), our “BEST OF SHOW”:

“A Warm Welcome”: Anita Guzik-Miller


Several “On Display” contest categories honor these departed Ceramic Arts Studio friends: Betty Harrington, Reuben Sand, Karl Ahlen, Flossie Young Balch, Mildred “Millie” Ehle, Sid Foye, Helen Olson Gardner, Gertrude Harris, Pat Hermsdorf, Ruth Paulson, Martha Pendleton, Margaret Purucker, Itzy Sand, “Shy” Sand, and  Rose Segerson. Thanks for the memories!


All “On Display” winners received Certificates of Merit, accompanied by their very own souvenir medals — plus a “Blue Ribbon” for “Best of Show” winner Anita Guzik-Miller, who also received a souvenir Day The Earth Stood Still  movie poster. And, Lisa Louis won the “On Display” entry drawing. Her prize: an inflatable spaceman!


As a special treat, Anita Guzik-Miller and husband Charles listed Anita’s prize-winning display (and all its figurines) in the Club Auction, with all proceeds benefiting CAS Collectors. The lucky high bidder: CAS decorator Marlys Wilkinson!


Of course, the best part of any CAS Convention is the opportunity to mingle with friends who share a common interest in Ceramic Arts Studio and its legacy. And what a thrill to talk with those who actually were a part of the Studio in its heyday! Our honored guest this year was Studio decorator, Marlys Wilkinson, who attended with two of her daughters. Marlys, (who was also celebrating her birthday), received a special certificate for her many contributions to the CAS heritage. Also honored: our quiltmaker extraordinaire, Bunny Lenburg, “CAS jack-of-all trades” Norm Lenburg, and Anita Guzik-Miller. Yes, a wonderful time was had by all!


As promised, Convention 2017, “Ceramic Arts Studio: Past, Present, & Future”  truly was “Tomorrowland -- Today”! What could be better? Why, Convention 2018, of course! Make plans now to attend!