Feet of clay? Not this fellow. His are of bread dough, dried and glazed three times with polyurethane, like the rest of this clever sculpture by Merci Bozzo.
In this caricature, our subject is a real-life vice-president of a New York import-export firm. There on his desk is a picture of his wife, there beside him is their dog. Among the memorabilia are his favorite coffee mug and his unusual wedding band, as well as the sporting equipment he favors: skis, tennis racquet and golf clubs.
Actually, Merci--she goes by first name only--could have included almost anything the customer (in most cases, gift- giver) wanted. Furnish a photo and personality description of the individual and a list of significant interests. She'll create the piece and bake it at a very low temperature in her oven (sometimes as long as 36 hours), then paint it with watercolors ("you can't use anything cheap") and eventually dip it three times in polyurethane. If kept in a dry place, it will last for years, she says. To store, wrap the piece in tissue paper and keep in a dry place. Most of Merci's sculptures are made to hang on the wall, but she has done free- standing pieces too. A favorite is a wedding couple in attire copied from what they actually wore; others have included caricatures of persons in their favorite cars or boats.
A large bread-dough sculpture she did of her own family included an oriental rug, the family goldfish, turtle and kitten, framed college degrees and a seashell reminder of vacations at the beach. Her son wears his favorite baseball team uniform, elder daughter leaps overhead in tutu and toe shoes and younger girl plays with her doll house and skates. The artist herself, wearing tap shoes, clutches both a Democratic donkey and Republican elephant, and her husband sits at his desk, a golden pen in his grasp.
Merci also has constructed a sculpture of Ronald and Nancy Reagan sitting on a couch. He's pulling on his riding boots; she's shown with her collection of miniature boxes. On the walls are 11 portraits, most of family members; nearby is the ominous red telephone. (The sculpture was a gift to the Reagans from a friend.)
The fee for the fellow pictured here was $25, but the charge differs with the number of individuals and interests to be included. Patricia's, in Bethesda, will take your order.
Bread-dough sculpture. $10 and up. Patricia's, 7244 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda. 652-1866.