This year for Mother’s Day, and in anticipation of our 10 Year Anniversary starting June 10th, we thought it would be fun to share the perspective of two very important people in Haand’s story: our moms, Sherrie Warren (Mark’s mom) and Barbara “Fluff” Pence (Chris’s mom). It would be hard to understate the huge role that our moms played in our lives, encouraging us through the hard times and celebrating the wins.
From a young age, did you see anything from Chris that would indicate a future career path in pottery?
I think his exposure to clay in early art classes and at summer camps spiked his interest in pottery (we still have those early pieces). His love of pottery was cemented in ceramics classes in high school and workshops at Penland School of Crafts.
What has it been like to watch Chris build a business like Haand?
I am so proud of Haand… I have been privileged to watch the growth from Sunny Ridge (which I only was allowed to see from afar) to a tour of the first warehouse in Graham with the first Haand logo etched into the window. I was bursting with pride at how they put their business together, how they worked so hard to gain their clients and then watching them expand to their large factory in Burlington, is so impressive; and so rewarding as a mom to watch their success. Along the way, there were anxious moments for all, including the pandemic, but they have jumped over every hurdle and landed on their feet!
What do you tell your friends your son does?
I tell my friends that my son has been able to follow his dream, by investing in an education to be able to run a business and being able to follow his passion for pottery. Then I have to take them to the website and show them Haand; it’s the only way to explain what he does. I love gifting Haand pottery to my friends.
Can you remember the first time you met Mark
Chris and Mark met in high school and we did our best to open our home to his friends. We had a great time getting to know Mark and his other friends. It was and still is a tight group and we are privileged to have been able to spend time with them at weddings and events over the years and maintain those friendships.
Any anecdotes or memories that you want to share?
I remember paying an electrician to hook up a 220-volt connection in a shed at a home Chris was renting so he could plug in a kiln. I remember sitting with him at art shows, selling his bowls. One time, I turned up a loud Springsteen song while he was making a pot on the wheel and I caused it to collapse; he was not happy.
My house is full of his pottery – it is my décor – and every piece is a memory.
We have a couple of framed charcoal sketches of vases done by his great grandmother who was one of the first female students at the University of Indiana; they are identical to pieces he has created without knowing her or seeing the sketches. It is in his genes.