Growing up in her grandparents’pottery shop, Mississippi native Tab Boren learned how to throw on a potter’s wheel at the age of 12. As a third-generation potter, Boren quickly took to the craft.
Today, Boren has her own flourishing family business — selling her pottery online, in her Mantachie, Miss., store and wholesaling to 75 retailers nationwide. With her husband, Ken, and five children each playing a crucial role at Tab Boren Pottery, she has created her own signature style.
“My pieces are art, but they are meant for everyday life,” said Boren. “I get excited testing new pieces and unloading the kiln every morning.”
Boren also offers pottery classes for people wanting to learn the craft. A chance encounter at one of her classes 20 years ago led to her longstanding relationship with Le Bonheur.
Alisa Sides, who was president of TWIGS Le Bonheur (Together We Initiate Growth and Sharing) at the time, took Boren’s class and was so impressed with her work, she asked Tab to create a bowl they could sell to benefit the hospital.
Boren agreed, and the piece was a huge success.
Since then, Boren has sold thousands of pieces to benefit Le Bonheur and raised more than $250,000 for the hospital through TWIGS Le Bonheur. From heartshaped pieces to bowls to crosses to holiday ornaments, Boren has used her talents to help children — including her own daughter — for 20 years.
Five years ago, Boren took her then 12-year-old twin daughters Mia and Madison shopping for clothes. Little did they know, the outing would be lifechanging.
While shopping, Boren noticed Mia slouching in the dressing room mirror.
“I told Mia to stand up straight and she said ‘Mom I am,’” Boren vividly recalled. “I was concerned and called our local clinic here in Mississippi. After examining Mia, they referred us to Le Bonheur.”
Mia was self-conscious and private about her condition, not wanting to share with her friends or extended family.
At Mia’s appointment with Le Bonheur Orthopedic Surgeon Derek Kelly, MD, the Borens learned she had a spinal curvature that would require surgery and the fusion of nine vertebrae.
“Dr. Kelly and Le Bonheur were great,” said Boren. “They welcomed our family and made us feel safe and well cared for.”
We are so thankful for Le Bonheur. Children and their parents need a place to depend on and Le Bonheur is that place.
Following her successful surgery, Mia walked the halls of the hospital, building her strength before she was permitted to go home. She amazed her medical team with her persistence and dedication and was discharged five days later.
Today, Mia is brimming with confidence and her family is proud of her progress. She visits Le Bonheur for X-rays every 18 months but she has had no further back issues following her surgery.
“We are so thankful for Le Bonheur,” said Boren. “Children and their parents need a place to depend on and Le Bonheur is that place.”
Following Mia’s experience, Boren’s commitment and adoration of the hospital only deepened — her gratitude and generous soul have led her to support Le Bonheur year after year.
“Tab’s greatest strength is her humble spirit of giving,” said Connie Haygood, Le Bonheur Foundation Special Events Manager. “She has a servant’s heart and she shares that with others daily through her time and talent. We are so grateful for her continued generosity.”
Supporters buy her pottery not only for its beauty, but because they know it will help patients and their families at Le Bonheur.
In 2019, she sold 2,553 pieces to benefit Le Bonheur including more than 2,150 of her top-selling Christmas ornaments.
“Her love for helping the children of Le Bonheur is an inspiration,” said TWIGS Le Bonheur past President Rene Horton. “She reminds me of this quote ‘I can’t think of a better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself.’”
A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Boren sketches ideas and turns to nature for inspiration. She uses more than 25,000 pounds of clay each year to mold her handmade pottery.
Boren crafts her pieces on the pottery wheel and then takes them through a multiday firing process in her kilns, pouring her heart and special touch into every piece of pottery.
While she is honored by her accolades and career successes, for Boren, family is the most important.
Boren’s children and husband all help to make the business a success.
Mia and Madison work alongside their brothers: 18-year-old Chris, 16-year-old Marshal and 7-year-old Riley. Each child serves in a unique role suited to their strengths — helping unload the kilns, painting and glazing pieces, rolling out slabs and assisting with processing orders.
“I am most proud of getting to do a job that God made me for, and I am fortunate to get to do it with my family,” said Boren. “I love what I do, and I’m very blessed to be able to create.”
To purchase Tab Boren Pottery to benefit Le Bonheur, go to www.tabborenpottery.com/lebonheur.
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