This is a love story. Brin and Dale Baucum met as students at the Memphis College of Art in May 1972 and married in November of that year. "It seemed to be the thing to do," Brin says. "It worked out okay."
"Double Vision," opening Sunday at the Dixon, is a retrospective of 40 years of work by the potters. The exhibit features 100 works arranged chronologically.
The Baucums, who run Baucum Pottery from a studio in the backyard of their Midtown home, decided from the beginning that they would make their living as artists, and then, Brin says, "We set about surviving. We ate a lot of potted meat."
Brin was then working in black-and-white photography. With the birth of their son in 1979, Brin switched to pottery to focus their efforts. "Mistakes could be recycled," she says of the clay. "It's all very practical."
According to Brin, it was in the 1990s that "Baucum Pottery became Baucum Pottery." Though the two worked separately, they would share ideas. A decade or so later, as they became emptynesters (they also have a daughter), they began to collaborate on pieces.
The show includes some of Brin's early photography and pieces with their children's touches in addition to beautifully colored vases, platters, bowls, and other hand-thrown pottery that the couple is known for. Many of the pieces feature unusual shapes, textured glazes, and even leaves and flowers pressed into the surface. Dixon director Kevin Sharp had them also create works specifically for the show that veer from the Baucums' norm, pieces that Brin calls "strong and new."
Brin talks of her life with Dale — how her engagement photo in the old Press-Scimitar included one of Dale's pots, how they raised their children as "two moms," how they worked through months making little money, how they listen to NPR and audiobooks while working together in the studio. It all sounds idyllic, but it must have been hard to be so entwined for 40 years.
"It hasn't really been that hard," Brin says. "Completely supporting yourself as an artist is difficult. It was important enough to both of us that we stick to it. We struggle together. I hope it lasts forever." "Double Vision — Brin and Dale Baucum: A Retrospective in Clay" at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, July 29th-October 14th.
Opening lecture on Sunday, July 29th, at 2 p.m.