Do-it-yourself bronze sculpture? The Arts Refoundry of Los Angeles has packaged the idea cleverly in gift form. Metalcast Kits include two double-ended carving tools; two small sheets of the super-hard wax used by pros; an abrasive pad for smoothing and finishing; and prepaid shipping to get the carved creation to the foundry, where it will be cast in bronze and returned as finished artwork.
The Metalcast Kits come in two versions: belt buckle ($110) or flat sculpture ($130). As an example of what the latter might look like, Arts Refoundry co-owner Kate Mayfield sent a photo of a bronze plaque by Trish O’Connell and Steve Bell, two artists who met while working on projects that centered on the human heart. (Their wedding invitations even featured an anatomically correct illustration of the organ.)Another possibility, if you're looking for the gift of an experience, instead of stuff: The Arts Refoundry offers gift certificates for one-day bronze sculpture-making classes in its Lincoln Heights studio. Readers may recall my colleague Rosie Mestel took the class and wrote about the experience in April. Mayfield talked the group through the sculpting process, while Mayfield's husband, master foundryman Gordon Bowen, fired up his biodiesel-fueled furnace to pour the bronze. Mestel's verdict: Very groovy.