Southern Stars Laughlin Retreat 2014
"Roaring 20's at the River"

Southern Stars once again, out does themselves at our Annual Laughlin Retreat.   We were thrilled to have  45 participants and of course some hubby’s join us too!!!!  Isn’t this a great looking group????






































If you can’t figure out who this is???  It’s our host for the event Marley Maplin (Charley Chaplin).  Marley ran the event and did a great job as usual….  If those wondering who this is-it’s non other than “Arlene Smith”



Our Vice President Linda Davis (Mona Crawfish), showed us how to combine Satin Glaze, Shimmers, French Dimensions mixed with slip to create this  wonderful platter, just in time our the upcoming holidays.

The weekend started off with four great project, taught by our members.  Helen Castaneda (Zeta Zarbo) walked us through how to create this great silhouette using Duncan Concept, Sprinkles and French Dimensions.


As you can see she used herself as the model for the plate!




Text Box: South Side Mob Boss  Hal Sapone and his broad Zeta Zarbo
Text Box: North Side Mob Boss
Beanie O’Dannon and his Broad Mona Crawish.

Guests—Rosann Roelandts, Jean Kidwell, Sandy Hennion, Caroline Kortas and Scarlett Hatcher and the Handsome MR HATCHER, and Caroline Kortas


Our Cast: Back Row—Norrah Andersen, Kathy Gabrisch, Jeanne Walker, Dru Woodward, Arlene Smith, Helen Castaneda. Front Row—Aprille Johnson, Joyce Wright, Linda Davis



We have decided that if we ever decide to give up ceramics, we could go into acting!

The Grand Gatsby Speakeasy guests

Sunday morning we began again, this time David Hoff teaching the , showing us how to paint incised tiles.  What great fun, antiquing, blending, and also learning to grout. 


At lunch we had a great surprise for one of our members.  We presented her with the Shining Star Award.  The Helen O’Donnell Shining Star Award  is the highest award given by our Southern Stars Chapter.  It is awarded for ‘Unending inspiration and everlasting dedication to the Southern Stars Chapter”.   Helen was presented with the very first “Shining Star Award on December 7th 1997 


This Award is named in the honor of Helen O’Donnell.  Helen was instrumental in the organizational aspects of starting our Southern Stars Chapter and consequently became a charter member when the Chapter received its very first charter form International in 1991.  She was our chapter Treasurer from 1991 until her death in 1998.  As a firm believer in ceramics education she set a precedent for the quality of educational programs while chairing our chapters’ regional programs and subsequently became IADCCT Educational Director in 1996  Helen was also on the IADCCT International Nominating committee in 1993/1994, and she became the first chairperson for the newly created IADCCT Educational Showcase Programs.


This award is not given every year, only when one of our members is nominated by fellow chapter members, as deserving.. 


This year,  Helen Castaneda received the award and it was well deserved.


We wrapped up our event at about 3p.m. and a great time was had by all…


We also announced the dates for next year:


Southern Stars Laughlin Retreat

“Top Chef comes to the River”

August 15-16, 2015



If you have never attended before, please plan to join us in 2015, you will have a lat of fun, great education, meet great folks who love ceramics as much as you.  I guarantee you will not be disappointed!!!

Helen Castaneda — recipient of the 2014 Southern Stars Shining Star Award


Our next project was presented by Kathy (Denham) Gabrisch (Hal Sapone, Mob Boss).  We had 3 choices to choose from,  And let me tell you some folks got really creative, with good reason, we did not want to upset the Mob Boss.  It was great to see folks begin to think outside the box or I guess I should say out side the CUP.


To finish up the day, Aprille Johnson (Kara Low) walked us through how to paint a large soup/cappuccino cup to look like a flower.  The great thing was that no pattern was used and that there were no two cups alike. 


That wound up the days projects and we all headed back to our rooms to prepare for the great event starting at 7:00pm… 


When folks registered they each received and invitation, inviting them to the “Grand Gatsby Speakeasy”.  They had to remember to knock 3 times and give the password in order to enter.  A lot of us were on pins and needles as we just knew there was going to be trouble between the North Side Chicago Gang and South Side Chicago Mob.