Earthborn Pottery is a company built from our love of art and our passion to create it.
Working with clay gives us a connection to the earth and a respect for our Creator who made it. Each piece is a labor of love; handmade, heartfelt, and designed with inspiration from nature in all its glory: the greens of pine trees, the blues and violets of the sky, the downy warmth of cotton fields, golden hues of honey, and the deep reds from our Alabama soil. We hope that each piece of Earthborn Pottery leaves you with a sense of connectedness with nature and a glimpse of the Divine influence in each of our lives as we express our love and appreciation in each piece. Like the people we cherish, each piece of Earthborn Pottery is unique and one of a kind, a treasure to be passed down for generations.
As a somewhat troubled teen in the 1970’s Tena Payne’s course in life was changed drastically one season when an observant teacher loaned her a potter’s wheel for the Christmas holidays. It was then that she fell in love with clay.
Through the years, Tena continued to refine her craft into an art, experimenting with glazes and different clay types. In her free time, in between having children, working, and raising her family, Tena continued making pottery, always wondering how she could make a living doing what she loved. And one day, she stumbled across the answer, quite by accident. Tena and her family were farming shiitake mushrooms and had a banner crop. She decided to sell some of them to a well known chef, James Beard Award winner Chris Hastings of Hot & Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama. Tena and Chris discussed her pottery craft and he commissioned her to make unique dinnerware and serving pieces for his restaurant. From that, a succession of culinary and hospitality shows all over the country followed which resulted in the launch of Earthborn Studios. As well as serving the hospitality community, Tena sells pottery to retail stores, produces several custom lines, produces awards for corporations, and even makes a line of bathroom sinks. Earthborn Pottery has grown, expanded, and now has become the sole employer for Tena, her husband and her children; she finally gets to make a living doing what she loves every day. Other accomplishments include: Charter Member of Artist’s Inc., American Craft Council member, serves as a judge for art shows across the country, and is a certified member of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. (WBENC) In her spare time, Tena still harvests shiitake mushrooms, plays with her seven grandchildren and still throws on the potter’s wheel.