'Marmot Chess' is planned to be a series of limited edition resin sculptures. Currently, this project consists of polymer clay prototypes and paintings that I have been planning and working on for the past 3 years. I specifically created this kickstarter to raise funds to create resin reproductions for the full set of 'Marmot Chess' pieces. I want the pieces to be affordable so I can share the fun with as many people as possible.
The blank resin pieces will come in two colors: black and white. This way people will have the option of painting their own pieces (or leaving them in classic black and white too).
I started painting marmots, or groundhogs, a few years back when I lived in Ashe County, NC. I moved there with high hopes of starting a new life and gain enough skill to start a career in art after school. The solitary living conditions in the mountains game me plenty of time to improve my drawing and painting skills... maybe too much time.
I worked day and night, every-day, painting anything and everything I could think of or see, including the many groundhogs that lived on the farm. Of everything I painted, they were the most fascinating to me. They seemed to have very human characteristics and emotions, especially the less-than-stellar ones that I find hilarious. I like to think that they have a limitless potential to be a nuisance.
I guess it really boils down to the fact that painting them makes me laugh and I think it might have a similar effect on other people, or at least I hope it does.
I have enjoyed playing chess since before I can remember. I thought it would be a lot of fun to someday sculpt a whole set. I began painting small potential character designs towards the end of 2010. The designs have been evolving into the full 32 character set that I am currently producing.
The process starts with oil portraits of each character.
Once I have a good idea of the personality and design of the character I begin sculpting a polymer clay prototype. This begins with a wing nut and a bolt. I then create an armature with wire and bond it to the wing nut with epoxy. To conserve money and time I build out the form from here with aluminum foil. Once the foil has been packed down, I begin layering the clay in a way that suggests the larger overall forms of each design. I then carve into the larger mass to pull out details. With a lot of patience and a little mineral spirit, I finish the prototype off with small, refined details.
Now here's where you come in...
After all of the prototypes are complete, I will create two part silicone molds for each sculpture. This process requires a vacuum degassing chamber to remove bubbles from the silicone and digital scale to make sure the ratio of mixed components is as exact as possible. Once the mold is made, I will then pour the urethane resin into the molds and let them cure.
...and I can't do this last part without your help!
Right now I am aiming for 25 to 100 editions of each sculpture and print. The results of this kickstarter will determine how many I can make.
Each character in Marmot Chess has a unique design and personality (all 32 of them!!!). I will be posting pictures of a few of them over the course of this kickstarter.
Kings: (Light) Pie | (Dark) Greed
Queens: (Light) Might | (Dark) Malice
Bishops: (Light) Boss - Boasting | (Dark) Flash - Magic
Knights: (Light) Light - Ram | (Dark) Goblin - Frog
Rooks: (Light) Squish - Stretch | (Dark) Dragon - Salamander
Pawns: (Light) 'Mater - Melon - Cherry - Brussell Sprout - Flower - Berry - Niblets - Apple | (Dark) Kitty - Puppy - Snake - Hawk - Baby Elephant - Iguana - Puffer - Squirrel
All Pledge Levels: Everyone that pledges will receive exclusive updates and previews of progress and completed artwork before they are accessible anywhere else.
Thank You ($5+): Everyone that contributes also gets a big ole thank you credit on the future Marmot Chess website. www.marmotchess.com
Postcard ($10+): Handwritten postcards in the mail are fun!
Prints ($20+): I will be printing archival quality limited edition prints of each character painting.
Chess Pieces ($50+): The pieces start with the kings (4" diameter at their base, 8" tall) and decrease in size down to the pawns (2" diameter at their base, 4" tall). The diagram below illustrates how they are scaled.
Original Drawing($100+): This is the original mock up sketch that I did for the Marmot Chess sculptures.
Dark Marmot of Old($100+): This is one of only two remaining first generation character studies. This Dark Knight character is the base design for Salamander Rook for the final chess set.
Land Beaver Wearing a Codpiece($100+): This is one of only two remaining first generation character studies. This Dark Rook character design is no longer being used in the chess set.
Full Marmot Chess Set ($900+): This is the full set of all 32 different resin sculptures. Makes for an over-sized game of chess. 36" to 40" squared playing surface suggested.
Custom Painting and Sculpture ($1,500+): This is a custom 8"x10" painting and a sculpture that could replace any piece of the marmot chess collection. You give me what type of piece you want it to be and a few details about how you would want it done; then I make it happen.
Bronze Marmot Chess Set($10,000+): This will take some time, but I think it would be amazing to see this set, in all its glory, cast in bronze.
The amounts that I have listed for pledging may seem high, but that's because production cost of this many sculptures is amazingly high. Here's a pie chart to break it down.
Tools(roughly $1000): In order for me to do this project right, I need to have the right tools. This includes a vacuum degassing system for removing air from silicone and safety gear so that I don't hurt myself.
Molding($500): It will cost a little less than $500 in non sulfur clay, mold boxes and the silicone itself.*
Casting($4000): Each set is an estimated $355 in resin. The $4000 figure is for 10 full sets(320 sculptures) plus some slack for testing and for in case I mess up.*
Printing($250): Ink and 2 rolls of paper. Pretty simple.
Shipping($1000): Rough estimate for shipping 100 packages averaging $10 per package.
Kickstarter($750): Between Kickstarter and Amazon, I will have to pay up to 10% if funding is successful.
*Estimates on Silicone and resin are based on calculations of known sculptures sizes on smooth-on.com's online calculator. The end figures may not be exactly the same.
I have poured a lot of my own money and even more of my time into this project. I really want to be able to complete it to the fullest extent and if I end up receiving more than my original goal, I will add felt bottoms, packaging and other cool things, like stickers.
Stretch Goal 1: $10,000 - Felt bottoms
Stretch Goal 2: $15,000 - Packaging (boxes and stickers)
Stretch Goal 3: $30,000 - Fabric playing surface for full sets
At the start of this kickstarter campaign, the majority of paintings and sculptures are still in progress. I will be posting public updates on the status of production throughout this campaign and private, backer only updates after it is over. My plan is to finish the majority of the original work by the end of the pledge period and use the funding to cast resin reproductions of each sculpture. There is a two week period between the end of this campaign and the beginning of mold-making that I will use to finish all of the original work. I welcome everyone to join me for the final steps of this massive creative endeavor.
I will be sending out kickstarter surveys(You choose your rewards based on your pledge level) the week of my art show/release party.
After production and exhibition of the pieces, I will ship all resin sculptures to arrive before mid-December.
ART SHOW/RELEASE PARTY
I am excited to be having a Solo Show/Release Party at Screaming Sky Gallery in Portland, OR. The opening reception is September 26th, 6-9pm and the show will be up through October 27th. All of the originals, prototypes and resin sculptures (if this kickstarter is successful) will be available at retail prices. For information on pricing, availability and reserving original paintings and prototype sculptures please contact Screaming Sky Gallery. I will post more information on the show as I receive it. See ya there!
A Marmot Chess Pop-up Show has been tentatively scheduled at Gallery Twenty-Two in Charlotte, NC. The show will be one night only: December 12, 2013, 7pm-2am
The amazing people at Twenty-Two are letting marmots run wild the night of December 12th. For this pop up show, there will be full resin Marmot Chess sets ready to play and a boatload of prints available. There will also be a display of uniquely painted individual pieces.
Backers and potential backers: I welcome anyone that contributes $50+(blank chess pieces) to have their custom chess piece creations featured in the show. If you pledge towards a painted piece or full set and you would like to participate, send me a message and we will make it happen. I can't wait to see what unique color palettes and modifications that you all will make!
Want a pop up show in your city/area? Okay, let's do it! Share this project with your friends and if Marmot Chess gets over 25 backers from any particular area, I will figure out a way to bring a pop up show to you. (US only)
Well, that just about sums it all up. Thanks for checking out this Marmot Chess Kickstarter,
Risks and challenges
Marmot Chess, like most projects, has a chance of unexpected events or problems that may occur during production. If there are any delays, I will be sure to send everyone updated release schedules as soon as possible.
If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, I will have 3 weeks to create the molds that I need before I have to ship the prototypes to Portland, OR. I should have all of the resin casting done in this time. If for some reason I don't, I can still use the molds after I ship the prototypes and there will be a short delay.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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