The Year of the Cow


Yes, EVERYTHING COWS, by way of Painting, Sculpture, Photography and more, as our Artist Guild of Central Minnesota holds it annual themed exhibit July 12 ~ August 11th :

At ~ Gallery Saint Germain ~ Come for our Opening Reception, Thursday, July 13th, 6-8pm.

BUT NOW, I AM IN THE PREPPING / GETTING READY PHASE . . . with a few pieces done, some just carved and fired once, others glazed and  getting ready to be fired  ~ kind of like life ~ 


Or perhaps better from Fyodor:

 But Art  DOES Imitate Life, especially in Minnesota from a photo I took a few days ago ~ 

Soooooooo, we’ll keep creating as we carve and glaze and fire and do our best to share with you all the fruits of our labors  

IN HONOR OF: Gustav KLIMT, My Jewish Ancestors, and the film “Woman In Gold”.



GUSTAV KLIMT, the amazing, creative, controversial, always changing and growing as an artist Viennese Painter and a leader of the Art Nouveau/Symbolist Movement! 


As an artist and student of art history I have been mesmerized for decades ~as has the world ~ by KLIMT and the Symbolist/Art Nouveau Movement. (Two of my favorite books on this period by Philippe Jullian are: “The Symbolists” and “Dreamers of Decadence”). In his 56 years of life and incredible artistic achievement, he was the consummate technician from his early traditional paintings and classical period through his extreme, sensual, brilliant provocative work breaking away from the current Viennese painting tradition (forming the Secessionist Movement). I’ve traced this movement in photos of his work below.  

But the main reason for this post is not my ongoing love affair with KLIMT, but my ancestral roots on my mothers side, inspired to write this after viewing the 2015 new release on NETFLIX films of ” The Woman In Gold” ~ Here’s the Offical Trailer: 


Again, this movie, as three others I’ve watched and re-watched this year (“Shindler’s List”: “The Remembrance”, and “Fugitive Pieces”) have thrown me back to my Jewish roots. My oldest sister did the genomic study “23 & Me” last year, not unlike’s genomic study opportunity, and found out that our family is over 50% Ashkenazi Jew. That was quite a discovery when all our lives we are thinking German/Polish/Prussian/Russian mix. It made me reflect on my desire and enjoyment of learning Hebrew at seminary, and making 5 visits to Israel over the past 32 years, which included 5 gut-wrenching tours of Jerusalem’s Holocaust Museum—Yad Vashem. 

When my wife Joan spent over 100 hours two years ago researching, interviewing my mother, and receiving hundreds of pictures from my siblings to put together a beautiful video tribute and book for her 90th birthday, I began to see those roots more clearly. Here are a few beginning photos: 







What a family! Ya gotta love the family goat the sisters took care of!!! 

To complete this writing, here are Gustav KLIMT’S early, traditional paintings, evolving into his classical period and fully blossoming as a forerunner of the Art Nouveau period. You can see the influence of the European and Italian Renaissance masters, as well as how Gustav transformed the colors and patterns of Italy’s Ravenna Mosacis into his astounding abstract, erotic and later Symbolist art. Such an amazing talent and inspiration, not unlike Jackson Pollack for me and his evolution from traditional Regionalist style as taught by Thomas Hart Benton to his over the top, deeply abstract yet balanced pour paintings. I hope for such an ongoing artistic transformation. 






















A last playful dance pic of Gustav and friend . . . followed by perhaps his most popular painting, “The Kiss”  





“GOD ~ MOMENTS” ~ Share Yours With Me if You’d Like.



I AM WRITING A SECOND BOOK, and I’d love to have you be a part of it. It’s called “GOD MOMENTS ~ The Reality of God’s Presence In Our Every Day Lives.” It will be a 366 day reflection book drawing from real life miracles that I’ve experienced, those of friends and family, and from events around the world. 

Maybe “MIRACLES” is too strong of a word? How about these:

You know what Albert Einstein said about COINCIDENCES???



YOU THINK ABOUT IT! I’d LOVE to have your experience be a part of a year long book that can inspire others ~ letting them know they are not alone. As the philosopher Chardin stated:

FEEL FREE TO WRITE ME and pass on your “God Moment”, I’d love to to add it to my book, but even more so, I’d love to be encouraged by your experience. My email to write to is:  







Inspiration/Creation = Giving Birth/Giving Life

I’ve always been fascinated and inspired by the creative process, and having only recently vacationed in Italy, enjoying Rome, Florence, Venice, Assisi and more, the words of Michelangelo struck a chord:

Poems are made by fools like me….but only God can make a tree.”

It reminds me of the story about a bunch of scientists who were atheists and God appeared to them and said, “I know you don’t believe in me but let’s have a contest to see who can create life.” They jumped at the challenge and ran and grabbed some dirt and brought it into the lab. But God said, “Hey, wait a minute, that’s MY dirt!”

And speaking of dirt or clay, there’s that ahhhh-mazing creation story where in the beginning, God took some earth and created man. Michelangelo’s centerpiece on the glorious ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome depicts this scene:

In this context, there’s a difference between creation and inspiration, between giving birth and giving life. God first created everything out of nothing, then took what he created and formed a person, but that person was not fully alive, fully awakened. Then, the magical words from Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” There is the creating but then the breathing into, literally “inspiration” becoming a “living soul.” I love that.  Does that shed new meaning on the phrase “merely existing or truly living”? “Get busy living or get busy dying”? As a friend of mine often said, “Our goal in life is to become fully conscious, fully awake.” 

It had been forty years since I first visited, and I could not help but shed tears of awe walking through the renovated Sistine Chapel ~ Awe-Filled!!!

I am so thankful I’ve been blessed with the gift and time to create, to use dirt/clay, and breathe into my creations to help them live. And art does imitate life, as if the clay can speak, as we do, wondering what’s going on?? Why this suffering, why this pain??? And we hear the response of the only ONE that created us and chose to breathe and continues to lovingly breathe into us:

Yes, we are God’s poems, His creations, fearful and wonderfully made….and breathed into. 


+ WORD Became Flesh + GOD Became Human +



I BELIEVE God is the BANG behind “The Big Bang” and the best of Science continues to discover God’s footprints in His Universe. It is beyond human comprehension that this ever expanding Power creating everything out of nothing became flesh that first Christmas morn. 


The Magic/Miracle of Christmas is not that God was born but that God can be born in us, the miracle of faith. I believe the greatest miracle is not that a man born blind can receives his sight, but that any of us can be brought from darkness to LIGHT. That is God’s will, God’s love, God’s amazing grace…….

…….So this is Christmas. 


MAY ~ Mental Health Awareness Month

I am honored to be chosen as one of two artist to display our work this week in the Rotunda of the Stearns County Courthouse, St. Cloud, MN, celebrating May as Mental Health Awareness Month. 



There is definitely a stigma surrounding mental health issues, from depression to bipolar, borderline personality disorder, suicidal and so many more labels we often tag people with so we can put them into a kind of box and distance ourselves from them. Some of the greatest artists and individuals struggled in these areas throughout history and not only survived but even thrived through them. 

Having been living in “active sobriety” for the past nine and a half years, attending meetings and support groups each week and sponsoring a number of men in recovery, I have felt and seen mental health issues close up. Art is therapeutic and healing. My “Artist Statement” speaks of the way our understanding of a Higher Power chooses to recycle and work through everything in our lives in amazing creative ways. 
mental health new 2I am joined by painter Artist Sadie Wolf who has a powerful Artist Statement and amazingly creative and colorful creations! 

sadies work 2

sadies work 1

I will include photos of many of my works below that are represented in this display ~ all of which express healing and growth, not ashamed of what so many go through from mental health issues, but allowing the shame and pain to be a catalyst of healing through creativity. In so doing the phrase that is a guiding light for my life keeps living itself out:

“The Walking Wounded are becoming the Wounded Healers!”

If you have any questions of my art work regarding theme and understanding or pricing towards purchase, please contact me at:

~ email:

~ phone: 1-320-259-5393 


~ Kenneth E. Ferber ~

mental health new 7mental health new 10mental heatlh new 9mental health new 6mental health new 5mental health new 3mental health 3mental health 4mental health 2mental health 1pots8

“Burial Urns + Cookie Jars”

My Burial Urn

My Burial Urn

       I’ve created many burial for loved ones, friends and acquaintances over the years. I was sitting in a meeting once when a woman found out I was an artist/potter/sculptor and she blurted out:”I’ve had my mom’s ashes in a pickle jar for five years!!!” I made sure her mother had a final resting place! The ones that touch me the most are those who are doing well physically, having perhaps many decades to live,  but want to have ‘things in place’. They often end up enjoying their urns for many years before they die. They are not fearful or superstitious, thinking if they have their urn they will die soon. For me, it goes back to that phrase “Until you begin to deal with your death you can’t really begin to live.” I created my personal urn (photo at the top of page) years ago, and it feels good. It s a beautiful work of art while I’m alive and it will long outlive me and even future generations. 

       My 91 year old mother has taken care of all her arrangements a few years ago. I made her a burial urn about 10 years ago but the lid sealed on in the firing and we took that as a sign that heaven can wait! She just wanted a simple pot with a cross on it, so I created it with her favorite blue colors in the glaze, but added a little gold to her cross. She loves it and is now saying “Ohhh, I think it’s too beautiful to be placed in the ground.” I told her that it doesn’t have to be, and her children and grand children can enjoy it’s beauty for years to come!

My mother's burial urn

       Some friends have used their urns simply as a decorative piece in their homes, while for others it served as a way to have “The Talk” with family members about end of life decisions. Still others simply use it for a cookie jar…..maybe kind of weird, but why not??? A younger woman who has cut my hair for 15 years does it in trade for pottery. She and her husband have enjoyed their decorative artistic urns for years.

       The reason I’m even writing this post is that a friend asked me if I had a website with photos of burial urns for her to choose from, so here it is (below) with current burial urns for sale. (If interested in the prices, please email be at:, leave a note below or call me at 320-259-5393).  

       Its a blessing to offer affordable urns for those wanting them, or cookie jars, or works of art in their homes! (And by the way, the last time I priced burial urns at a funeral home, the least expensive equivalent ones were $400 – $800.00 ~ sadly exorbitant pricing when a person is in grief).

Here’s to a Celebration of Life, and LIFE after life!!!


burial urn ~ 1

burial urn ~ 2

burial urn 3burial urn ~ 4burial urn ~ 5burial urn 6

burial urn ~ 7

burial urn 8

burial urn 9

burial urn ~ 9This is a concept piece shaped like a large di holding dice but can also work well to hold ashes for a burial urn. 
burial urn ~ 10Obviously this larger urn has holes in it which works beautifully for a candle with the light shining out of the jar, and for an urn, the ashes would be placed in a sealed glass jar and placed inside. 

burial urn ~ 10

burial urn ~ 11

Emerging Artist Grant Application

After creating art for many decades, always wedged in between other full time employment, these past few years can best be described as emerging as a professional artist. Thanks to the Central Minnesota Arts Board (, there is an art grant that imitates life, known as an emerging artist grant or “Individual Artist Award”. Grants and award do imitate life and I submitted the required paperwork and the following six art works created over the past five years for my application:

"On the Edge of Claustrophobia"


“From Primordial Ooze to Co-Creators with God!”

Primordial Ooze ~ 1


Primordial Ooze ~ 2

This is mostly just mud/clay, taken out of a 5 gallon pickle slop bucket that I dump all my white and brown clays into, recycling them. The theme of our Artist’s Guild Art Crawl Exhibit to be displayed at The Gallery Saint Germain this past August was “On the Edge!” And I’m thinking of this woman on the edge of a cliff, ready to either throw herself off, or escape into flight! Here’s the drawing for that:

"On the Edge of Flight or Destruction??!!!"

And if you look closely at that “ooze” below you can see her form beginning to take shape:

Primordial ooze beginning to take shape....

But it’s all so blurry and mushy and ‘formless and void’ as Genesis 1 talks about (‘tohu va bohu” in the original Hebrew language). I was trying to convey the deep swirling emotions flowing around this desperate, depressed, hopeless woman….though maybe she was going to fly???

I’ve created art for many years and art certainly does imitate life, but this is a work of art that mostly dictated to me what it was going to be and become by nature of it’s subject and it’s process to be completed. First of all it was too big to be fired in our electric kilns at the Paramount. I knew I was going to have to break it into three pieces to fire it:

Paramount Electric Kilns

One third of creation . . .

Secondly, the relief sculpture was difficult to clearly see the kind of strong, stark image I wanted to create and convey. I began carving into the clay and beneath the mass of grey and brown homogeneous mud there emerged an amazing, beautiful marbled clay relief that changed and deepened each time I carved more away. I didn’t know what to expect – every part of the clay surface was unique and revealing. My greatest surprise was at the bottom center where a portal was revealed ~ like an empty tomb. It made me better define my title: “On the Edge of Flight or Destruction ~ A Way Out, or a Way Through?”  For many, self destruction may be their only way out….but for others, there’s a way through our pain and shame toward healing and a recycled life.

Part 1 ~ “On the EDGE of ADDICTION!”



      Our very talented members of the Artist Guild of Central Minnesota chose the theme “On the Edge” last year for our current month long exhibit at Gallery Saint Germain in downtown St Cloud. It’s a provocative and very “pregnant” theme that evoked creative responses in painting, sculpture, and photography. Everything from embracing and painting the emotions surrounding a recent diagnosis of breast cancer, to addiction, and animals on the edge of extinction. 

       This will be part one of two blogs processing the seven new clay creations I presented for our exhibit:

PART 1) “On the Edge of Addiction”

PART 2) “On the Edge of Flight/Self Destruction?” “On the Edge of Claustrophobia”


” A D D I C T I O N ” 


       We all have addictive behaviors, some healthy while others self-destructive. I am learning to replace my self destructive acting out behaviors with healthy ones. I have been clean and sober from alcohol for almost 9 years, still attending two meetings a week, encouraging sponsees and meeting with my sponsor. I chose another addiction that many struggle with ~ gambling. These four creations are divided into three parts: “Pre-Addiction”, “Deep Addiction”, and “Healing Recovery”. 

A) “Pre-Addiction: Hidden Within the Box.”


The “perfect” platter and similar life, with a “ticking time bomb” in the box, closed tight. 

       I am not here to judge anyone’s life or their potential “addictions”, but to speak from my own recovery and working with hundreds of others who have struggled to maintain a healthy balance in their lives and have often come up short. My AA sponsor, a former chemical dependency counselor who is enjoying active sobriety for the past 42 years often says, “If alcohol (or other addictive substances) have caused repeated problems in your life, it may be a serious addiction for you.” I don’t know when that “addictive switch” got turned on for me where one drink was too many and one hundred was not enough, but I know it got amplified when I needed to escape from job burn out and feelings of guilt and shame. Left unchecked, even gradually over the years, deep addiction can manifest itself. 

B) “Deep Addiction ~ The Box is Overturned!”


        We begin to rationalize everything and believe our lies, slipping deeper into denial of what’s real and healthy: “Whats wrong with all night long” gambling??? Nothing, once in awhile for a social gambler, but EVERYTHING for one ready to throw in the car keys and bet the house! I have friends who lost everything through such addiction, ‘everything’ that goes beyond physical possessions, including, family, friends, and reputation. 

C) “Healing Recovery ~ “Beyond the Box”


       Yes, the platter was broken, the addictive box overturned, and life was out of control!” Living was a shambles and there seemed to be no hope with few options left . . . but there can be healing recovery for many. There’s a beautiful Japanese word:  Kintsukuroi  (Japanesegolden repair) is the  art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered goldsilver, or platinum. As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. 


      And finally, a healing truth in lasting recovery is that the only way one can truly recover and move beyond the place before their destruction,  is to freely give it away to others: “Freely receive; freely give!” Therefore the bowl of dice is joined to this third part in recovery. I made over 100 die simply to give them away to others. It was a joy to see kids and adults up and down the street with dice in hand, playing with them, and for some, jostling them as a kind of therapy. 



       Art imitates life and lasting healing recovery is a special gift of grace from our Higher Power ~ God as we understand God. That has been my healing and so many other walking miracles I have been blessed to know and to grow beyond the box of self destruction. 



~ A few key links: