We had the good fortune of connecting with Patricia Ferber and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patricia, what principle do you value most?
I value truth when creating art, of myself, family, and friends. When I am working on a sculpture, pottery, painting, or preparing a lesson plan for my students, when teaching, I ask the cosmos to be shown something I have never seen before. This thought was taught to me by Peter Voulkos, with whom I studied and worked with when at UC Berkeley, “Ask the clay, show me something I have never seen before”. To this day when starting a piece, working on at my art, the statement resonates within me. My Family has always been very supportive of my life’s endeavors. They express to me their thoughts about my artwork, and I appreciate their unique viewpoints and insights. Friends, I treasure, and treat with all my love and care. They know they can count on me if needed. Close friends are also a wonderful sounding board to bounce ideas off. I believe in Karma
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I became an accomplished ceramicist prior to transferring to UC Berkeley, where I received a A.B., M.A. and M.F.A. under the tutelage of Peter Voulkos. While at UC Berkeley, I was Voulkos’s teaching assistant, as well as working for him in his studio. Peter Voulkos taught me how to throw 100 lbs. of clay on the potter’s wheel. One’s body works as if in dance, it is not about strength, but balance. At this time, through my friend George McDavitt, I became involved in the building stone walls for rock stars such as Bob Dylan, and Don Henley. In the Bay Area, I collaborated with a fellow artist, and built “Cat Walk”, a rock and wood wall for 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman. Restauranter Modesto Lanzone commissioned me to build a wall at his Sausalito home. In the” Lanzone Wall”, I combined metal and rock. Lynn Kienholz, another inspiring mentor, once said to me years ago, “Anyone can claim to be a painter or a sculptor, not many can claim to be a mason. I was once written up in an article as “One of the few female masons in the US”, due to the diverse rock walls I built. Throughout my life I have been fortunate in encountering different possibilities for expressing my artistic endeavors. Open to change, following my heart, when these opportunities presented themselves, has allowed for me to become a multi-faceted artist working in varied media. Although my work has overlapping elements in its development, I have never made the same piece twice. Instead, my artworks evolve into the next art piece. Peter Voulkos once said, “If you can visualize your next piece, you’ve already done it”. I have also curated numerous art exhibits throughout the years. Five years ago, I was the curator of a large-scale outdoor sculpture exhibit for the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden, “The Nature of Sculpture”. Last year I was invited back and asked curate another outdoor sculpture exhibit for them, “The Nature of Sculpture II” The exhibit was to open last April, consisting of 94 sculptors placing their sculptures in a number of the Arboretum’s gardens. Due to Covid 19, the exhibit was postponed and has tentatively been re-scheduled to open April 2021, depending on the situation with the pandemic we are encountering.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would visit the many museums, and galleries that Southern CA offers, i.e. The Norton Simon Museum, The Getty Museums, MOCA, The Broad, and more. Included would be The Disney Concert Hall, walks through the botanical gardens of The Huntington Library, and The LA County Arboretum. Also encompassed would be visits to Downtown LA, Santa Monica, Venice and, venture south to San Diego’s various Museums, and galleries. Take walks at our beautiful Southern California beaches, and eat at restaurants that overlook the ocean. Other eateries would be, for example, take-out from Senor Fish, of a scallop burrito, Canters Delicatessen, a favorite Thai restaurant, and a hamburger at Caltech’s Athenaeum, al Fresco.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am thankful for all the current and past mentors in my life. My mother, who was an artist and educator herself, instilled in me courage, taught me strength, kindness, and encouraged my unique form of artistic creativity. My sister, Dr. Varvara Ferber is my best friend. She is very objective in her thoughts, and often enhances my imago mundi and perspective of life. She is also owning a large collection of my artwork. Phillip Cornellius – Set my foundation in clay while attending Pasadena City College, and introduced me to who is who, in the ceramic’s world. Peter Voulkos – Inspired me to become a sculptor and set my foundation in approach to painting. William Ackerman, Site Development Studios, Inc. I have painted faux rock for his architecture firm, and I am a consultant re: color for projects. I have free-lanced with his firm or over 30 years and continue to do so. Frederick Olsen – I have wood fired for many years in his “Hollywierd” Anagama kiln. Fred has been a mentor and friend throughout these many years. There is a group of people that have become close friends in recent years. Many I met through Carol Soucek King, when attending her monthly Salon, “The Salon of Spiritually Creative Life”, based on her book” Under the Bridges at Arroyo del Rey” Carol, who I so admire and adore, Curtis McElhinney, the talented photographer/ videographer, and myself, we named ourselves “The Three” due to our shared ventures, and congruent world views. There are numerous others that I can add to the list of my mentors. Isamu Noguchi – His work has always inspired me, and is one of my favorite sculptors. Green and Green Architects – Their craftmanship and especially their sensibility in rock work has been influential in my own rock work. I learn and am inspired by something new every day.
Website: Patricia Ferber.com
Other: I don’t Twitter, Facebook, etc. I am not a computer person., Although, I can be found on many of these sources in the US, as well as Europe..
Personal photo: Curtis McElhinney photographer “Guardian” Julie Brooks photographer