Forge into Santa Barbara Art Foundry

Sculpture by Tim Cotterill, courtesy SB Art Foundry

Sculpture by Tim Cotterill, courtesy SB Art Foundry

Smile-inducing surprises are tucked into almost every nook and cranny of the Funk Zone. Our latest cool find is the new Santa Barbara Art Foundry (120 Santa Barbara St., 805/324-4230,, a real working foundry where visitors can watch skilled craftspeople transform molten bronze into unique and beautiful sculptures.

It’s fascinating to see each step in the casting process. These bronze sculptures are created using the “lost wax” method, which can be traced back 4,000 years to ancient civilizations of Greece, Rome, South America and Asia. Watching these intricate procedures firsthand is sure to give visitors an even greater appreciation for all of the work that goes into these sculptures, conveniently on view in an onsite gallery.

Santa Barbara Art Foundry features the work of “anchor artist” Tim Cotterill, also known as “The Frogman,” whose frog sculptures are in collections all over the world and sold in more than 130 fine art galleries worldwide. Also on view are art deco sculptures by Erté, a well-known European artist and costume designer for films, and revered Chinese artist Ting Shao Kuang, whose work is seen in museums around the world.

As if the behind-the-scenes tour and the art itself weren’t enough to lure visitors into this distinctive new attraction, the venue also features a new tasting room, Fox Wine Company, headed by award-winning winemaker Blair Fox and his wife Sarah. Blair Fox Cellars is an ultra-boutique winery in Los Olivos owned and operated by the couple. This is their first tasting room in Santa Barbara and spotlights a new label created with the desire to produce elegant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as showcase their bold Syrah and unique blends. “We are thrilled to introduce this new label and are so happy to be part of the new gallery,” say the Foxes. “This is the one and only location where you can find these unique wines.”

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in the Winter 2013/14 issue of Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine.