Southern Star Studio

180 Cleveland Avenue, Athens, GA 30601** 706.248.6899


 Southern Star Studio

Southern Star Studio is Maria Dondero's community pottery studio where she works and rents out spaces to 7 other ceramic artists. Two large studio sales a year are held to display and sell the tenants current work.  On the first Saturday of every month, the studio is open to the public with pottery demos and pots for sale.  Otherwise, people are welcome to stop by to shop and visit during regular work hours. There are typically 2 or 3 folks around working that can show you around.  If no one is available, feel free to make an appointment.

Maria Dondero
(marmalade pottery)
Jennifer Heynen
(Jennifer Jangles)
Dondero received her MFA from UGA in 2008, and has been a full time potter and teacher ever since. Her pots tell stories with loose imagery that add warmth and depth to the surface.  She exhibits nationally and internationally, and her pots are represented by galleries around the country.

Heynen has been a self-supporting artist for 21 years. Originally a ceramic artist, she has found herself designing fabric and other licensed products for retail.  She is the author of Ceramic Bead Jewelry, Stitch Kitsch, and Sew Small, 19 bags to make. Missing ceramics, she has made her way back into the pottery studio. Southern Star Studio fills her need for bead making as well as artistic friendships.

Chona Reyes Leathers Allya Macdonald
Native of San Francisco and transplant to Athens, has been experimenting and working with clay since 2013. Applying her years of design and technology background into a new creative outlet. Focused on simple and thoughtful designs that is also functional and modular. All pieces are made to be used everyday. A Midwestern/Southern hybrid who has lived in Georgia most of her life. Both cultures have influenced her life and work. The serene snow-covered landscapes of Wisconsin and the funky rolling hills and antebellum architecture of the South have fused in her imagination and make their way into her work.
Regina Mandell
(forged & found)
Kerry Steinberg
After years in the fashion and design industry Philadelphia native Regina Mandell relocated to Athens, Ga, switched gears and found a new passion in clay. In 2014 she launched her pottery line, Forged & Found which can currently be found in small, independent boutiques nationwide as well as online on her website, Kerry is a Spanish Instructor at the University of Georgia and the mother of an 8 month old. She spends the little free time she has at the studio. Kerry makes functional pottery, using underglazes to create details and images that make each piece unique.



Although originally built as a house around 1900, the building has served as both a metal fabricating shop for an HVAC business and as a wood shop before becoming a pottery studio.   Dondero and her partner, Clyde Yates, purchased the studio building from Glenn Dillard, Jr. in 2014.  Mr. Dillard's grandfather started Dillard Coal Company during the Great Depression, selling Southern Star Coal for Athens residents to heat their homes.  Dillard Coal Co. was located right next to the railroad tracks, with their own rail spur for unloading coal.  At one point, a coin-operated coal dispenser near the road boasted its product for sale day and night.  As coal fell out of fashion, Dillard Coal Co. transitioned to HVAC, using the neighboring house to fabricate the metal ducts necessary for forced-air heating and cooling.  After Mr. Dillard retired, the space was rented as a wood shop for 15 years.

In December 2015, Dondero started the task of cleaning and renovating the building - cleaning accumulated sawdust from crevices, adding doors and windows to let in more light, and painting, painting, and painting.  Some of the first tenant artists pitched in with the work and on February 1st, 2016 Southern Star Studio was open and the first 6 artists began moving in and making pots!