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 Mark that would indicate a future career path in pottery?
When Mark was young I really did not see anything that led me to believe that he would have a career in designing and making pottery. Mark loved to be read to and when he learned to read he spent hours reading books. Mark also had a love for, and an interest in animals. When Mark attended preschool he entertained both his teachers and classmates with creative stories as he had a wonderful imagination. His preschool teacher said in her end of the year report that she thought Mark would become a great writer of fiction or a zoologist. I was in total agreement. Mark’s other love as a young child was playing with Legos.
If someone asked you in second grade what career you think Mark would have, how would you have answered?
By second grade I knew that Mark liked art and enjoyed going to his weekly art classes at school, as well as, doing art projects in his second-grade classroom. But at this time I still did not envision Mark as becoming an artist. I would have answered that I thought he would become a writer or a history major.
What has it been like to watch Mark build a business like Haand?
It has been amazing watching Mark and Chris build their pottery business. They have come a long way from where they began 10 years ago in a very old house in Durham, NC. It was a home in which they both lived and worked and one that no mother should ever have seen. Not only am I proud of how hard they have worked in becoming successful, but I am also very happy that they continue to live their artistic dream.
What do you tell your friends your son does?
I tell my friends that my son is an artist, has a studio in Burlington, NC, co-owns a business named Haand, and designs and makes beautiful and creative porcelain tableware and accessory pieces.
Can you remember the first time you met Chris?
I remember the first time that I spoke with Chris rather than the first time that I met Chris. He had called our home wanting to speak with Mark. I told Chris that Mark was not home and in Chris’s high energy (but polite) way he let me know that it was most important that he get in touch with Mark and could I please tell him where Mark had gone. I knew of Chris but had not met him as of yet. Mark was one of a handful of sophomores that had been placed in a homeroom class of predominantly senior students. I was not pleased with that scenario but tried to deal with it. Fortunately my godson, also a senior, was in that same homeroom so I was able to get information on Chris Pence and was assured that Chris was a good guy. Never in my wildest dreams did I foresee that Chris and Mark would develop a wonderful friendship, and become business partners and co-owners of Haand.
Any anecdotes or memories that you want to share?
When I think of the different developmental stages that Mark went through to get to where he is today I am overwhelmed. He was a storyteller, a builder of lego creations, a doodler of designs on his schoolwork papers, a creator of villages for his small metal soldiers (I thought he might become a set designer), a printmaker, sculptor, and finally a designer of porcelain ware. All along the way Mark has had family, friends, teachers, and mentors who have taught him, encouraged him, and loved him. And what we all know - besides what a wonderful human being he is- is that he has a most creative mind.