A CAS wonderland was waiting in Madison on August 27th, 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 2016 CAS Collectors Convention, “The Ceramic Arts Storybook!”

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 Storybook Trivia” game. . . “Silent Auction” tables. . .and a colorful fairy-tale party décor to set the mood. Our CAS Raffle again did brisk business, thanks to a magnificent quilt, created and donated by June Behnke, (the lucky winner: Anita Guzik-Miller).


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 Big Leopard and a Conical Vase.  


And, as always, there were prizes galore! Among the dizzying array:

·        Beautiful centerpieces designed by Convention Coordinator Barb Bowers, with CAS figurines selected by Bunny Lenburg. (The winners: Jim Behnke, Lisa Louis, Charles Miller, Megan Neal, and Amber Stoeberl.

·        “Earliest Earlybird Contest” (a CAS figurine was awarded to drawing winner Kathy Plehn).

·        “Ceramic Arts Storybook” 2016 Convention Poster, (a depiction of the CAS Alice & Rabbit), won by Hank Kuhlmann.


Other prizes were awarded throughout the evening, bringing smiles to many faces!


In addition to a surplus of souvenirs, each Convention attendee also took home a 2016 Commemorative – a sleek CAS Spoon Rest, designed by Lisa Louis, and emblazoned with the club logo.


Then, there were the “On Display” winners. This marked the thirteenth 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 2016:


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

Winner: Pat Johnson & Judy Johnson, “Little Boy Blue”. (As “LBB” sleeps the day away, life goes on in a CAS-filled country setting.)

  • “Funniest” (The “Reuben Sand/Margaret Purucker/Itzy Sand Memorial Award”)          

(Winner: Lisa Louis, “The CAS Storybook: Just Ask Alice”. (Alice finds herself in a new kind of wonderland—complete with a huge ceramic caterpillar!)

  • “Best Use of Accessories (CAS or non-CAS)” (The “Sid Foye/Karl Ahlen Memorial Award”)

Winner: Lynn Kingman, “Nursery Rhyme Favorites”. (Rhymes from “The Old Woman in the Shoe” to “Jack & Jill”, are brought to life with CAS figurines and clever accessories.)

  • “Fairy Tales Can Come True: Best Use of CAS Figurines to Retell A Fairy Tale”

Winner: Pat Johnson & Judy Johnson, “Dreams Really Can Come True”. (The Cinderella story retold CAS-style, complete with a fairy godmother and pumpkin coach!)

  • “Paging Mother Goose: Best Use of CAS Nursery Rhyme Figurines”

Winner: George Wm. Holland, “Time For A Nursery Rhyme”. (An oversize “book” houses shelves for CAS nursery figurines and printouts of their rhymes.)

  • “Flights of Fancy: Best Use of CAS Fantasy Figurines”

Winner: Donald-Brian Johnson, “Under The Sea”. (The CAS mermaid and merboy welcome visitors to a pearl and shell-strewn underwater lair.)

  • “The CAS Storybook: Best Use of CAS Children & Fairy Tale Figurines”

Winner: George Wm. Holland, “Tell Me A Story”. (A tower of “Little Golden Books” childhood classics, complete with the CAS figurines that tell their stories.)

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

Winner: Mary Lamm-Feltman, “Mr. Mouse Is Cleaning His House”. (Who’s under that cheese cover? “Mr. Mouse”, of course, surrounded by plenty of Cheetos!

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

Winner: Hank Kuhlmann, “Let’s Put It To A Vote”. (The CAS donkey and elephant ,“Dem & Rep” square off, amidst souvenirs of the 1960 Kennedy/Nixon Presidential contest.)

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

Winner: Anita Guzik-Miller, “Let Loose On Mother Goose”. (A beautifully detailed indoor/outdoor “dollhouse”, with CAS figurines and plenty of appropriate accessories depicting  favorite Mother Goose rhymes.)


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

“Let Loose On Mother Goose”: 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, Martha Pendleton, Margaret Purucker, Itzy 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 Disney Pinocchio movie poster. And, Barb Bowers won the “On Display” entry drawing. Her prize: a Disney Peter Pan poster!


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 members of her family. Marlys received a special certificate for her many contributions to the CAS heritage. Also honored: our quiltmaker extraordinaire, June Behnke, and “CAS jack-of-all trades” Norm Lenburg. Yes, a wonderful time was had by all!


As promised, Convention 2016, “The Ceramic Arts Storybook” truly was “the happiest of happy endings”! What could be better? Why, Convention 2017, of course! Make plans now to attend!