Artist and Object Maker
Ceramic vessels have an innate human connection. We are the only ones who create things to hold. These familiar objects are a baseline connection to my audience; a place to explore queerness, interpersonal relations, and the labor required for both.
I use stoneware and b-mix to create familiar forms with subtle queer qualities. Quiet quirks reflect my own relationship to my queerness. Growing up in the midwest, I didn’t have many queer role models. I felt different, out of place, and without the words to describe it for most of my life. I am still unsure, trying one thing or another until I find a place to fit. This is also the way I build my pots, altering traditional thrown forms, attempting to queer their posture, presence, and usage. Using a mix of impulsive and calculated moves, I bend, carve, and combine thrown forms until they feel like a whole.
High-temperature wood firing is also a combination of impulsive and calculated moves. The kiln becomes an expedited version of the earth, adding outside pressure to our works. Surface design is decided by the positioning of the pieces in the kiln and how the flames will move between them; glaze and slip are used, only to be changed by the ash accumulated from our labors. By finishing these pieces in atmospheric firings, the kiln puts its take on the form such as society puts its take on queer bodies. Unlike people, its impulses and calculations are recorded for all to see.
Tab Link is an emerging Midwestern artist who investigates queerness and perception through functional ceramic objects and atmospheric firing effects. In 2011, they began an apprenticeship with Gary Carstens where they participated in their first wood-firing. Since then, they have gone on to participate in atmospheric firings around the county and lead salt-fire workshops at Adamah Arts Studio in Dodgeville, WI. They received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2018. Shortly after, they moved to Dubuque, Iowa, where they are working to improve local arts visibility, teaching community arts programs, and establishing a working studio practice.
Today, Tab is pursuing their ceramics career from around the county. They are currently the Spring 2022 Artist-in-Residence at the Sonoma Community Center in Sonoma, California.