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Fine art bronze frogs with a hidden special purpose - opening beer bottles...by award winning sculptor Steve Worthington NSS SAA
Fine art bronze frogs with a hidden special purpose - opening beer bottles...by award winning sculptor Steve Worthington NSS SAA
14 backers pledged $1,751 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$1,751

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Help me make gang molds for the hardware to enable a first production run...

My prototypes you are seeing in the video and pictures are made with hardware cast in bronze from waxes pulled from a temporary mold. This is a good way to test the proof of concept and make any final last tweaks (trial and error usually throws up something unexpected).

Now that I have everything just right, I need to produce a more resilient 'gang mold' for the hardware which will enable me to produce the hardware elements in multiples, like leaves on branches instead of one at a time. This will make a first foundry production run efficient and cost effective.

Proof of concept prototypes-now it's time for hardware gang molds
Proof of concept prototypes-now it's time for hardware gang molds

Are these affordable art, or expensive beer bottle openers?

Both.

Artistically my goal is to create work of the highest quality which captures the essence of my subject and will stand the test of time, without my being a slave to literalism. They are infused with my sense of design and artistic taste as I choose what to emphasize and what to play down.

Bottle opener-wise the prototypes work perfectly. I perfected the design as a result of adapting some of my bronze toads and turtles to open beers. The tree frog is the more pocket friendly of the two due to its more compact attitude and smaller size.

Bronze frog with aged green patina - soon to be a bottle opener
Bronze frog with aged green patina - soon to be a bottle opener

Wall-hanging bronze tree frog - soon to be a bottle opener
Wall-hanging bronze tree frog - soon to be a bottle opener

Why beer opening frogs?

I've previously made a beer opening toad, and launched here on Kickstarter my beer opening turtles.

Beer opening was not my intention, at least at first. The toad and turtles (along with these frogs) began life as fine art bronzes in their own right.

But, as I mentioned in the turtles' Kickstarter, I like gadgets and secret, hidden purposes. And Bond.

Who would suspect an innocent bronze frog sitting on the shelf, or a sleeping tree frog tucked up on the wall, of suddenly leaping into action to pop open your beer?

Collectors of my work have told me that it's practically impossible to leave my critters alone once they take up residence with them. 

Picking them up and moving them about is an irresistible part of the fun. One person even seemed reluctant to tell me that part of the appeal for them is that while appreciating my bronzes as pieces of art in their own right, they also seem like toys.

Far from being offended, I was delighted to hear that. My work is conceived from a playful mind.

I'm an artist who likes to play!

Bronze frog in greenish-brown patina
Bronze frog in greenish-brown patina

What is my inspiration?

Nature tops my list, closely followed by the great French animalier sculptor Antoine Louis Barye.

But I've been obsessed with frogs since I can remember for some odd reason, so it really was a joy to make these.

The tree frog is based on one I kept as a pet, while the larger one is based on the female bullfrog, and the green frog.

But since it wasn't an exercise in scientific representation, rather an amalgam of forms guided by my own taste, it's not going to pass stringent examination as any specific species.

Bronze tree-frog bottle-opener prototype hanging out by my art books
Bronze tree-frog bottle-opener prototype hanging out by my art books

What's next?

All the adapting and figuring out the prototypes has been successfully done.

What remains is for me to provide the foundry with final molds or quantities of waxes to make casting these new pieces economical so that I can put them into galleries on consignment.

To do this I will be needing more resilient 'gang-molds' of the hardware so that waxes can be made in pre-sprued quantities ready for casting in bronze.

Which is where I need your help. 

Besides the hardware portion, after waxes of the actual frogs are made, they need to be sprued (have wax channels attached to them to provide a route in for the bronze), they are then invested in a hard material, heated to melt out the wax, turned over, have molten bronze poured inside, allowed to cool, broken open, cleaned up, have the sprues cut off, have the hardware welded into place (which goes through the same process), cleaned up (metal chasing), sand blasted, and finally acquire a patina.

Bronze frog soon to be bottle - opener in a traditional brown patina
Bronze frog soon to be bottle - opener in a traditional brown patina

What's in it for backers?

Both the bottle opening frogs and tree frogs will retail for at least $125 each once this project ends and they become available in galleries.

The pledges give you an opportunity to get one for 20 percent less, and two or more for 28 percent less, besides of course helping me to bring these functional works of art to the world at large.

Rocky the bronze frog $30 pledge

For a $30 pledge you'll get my sincere thanks and I'll send you one of my Rocky the frog talismans. Here's four of them next to a penny.

Rocky the bronze frog (x4) next to a penny
Rocky the bronze frog (x4) next to a penny

Tree frog $100 pledge

If you pledge $100 in the tree frog tier I'll send you a wall hanging tree frog bronze bottle opener.

Frog $100 pledge

If you pledge $100 in the frog tier I'll send you a frog bronze bottle opener.

Both for $180 pledge

If you pledge in the $180 tier you get both. So any time you want more than one, the pledge amount drops to $90 for each one.

Why not figure out how many of each you want when the project is over since both frog and tree frog pledges are for the same amount?

Knowing in advance how many of each I'll be needing to make will give me the chance to get a jump on producing waxes should I hit my goal before the deadline (making waxes is a first step in the bronze casting process).

I want to get these delivered in time for the holidays.

You can tell me what color patina you prefer on however many of each after the project ends when I send out a backer report. 

I'll provide patina options in project updates.

Bronze frog soon to be bottle opener with a brighter green/brown patina
Bronze frog soon to be bottle opener with a brighter green/brown patina

So are they brown, or green, or what?

Green wall hanging bronze tree frog soon to be bottle opener
Green wall hanging bronze tree frog soon to be bottle opener
Brown wall hanging bronze tree frog soon to be bottle opener
Brown wall hanging bronze tree frog soon to be bottle opener

Once bronze has been cast, and any welding and grinding has been attended to, it is sand blasted ready for the application of a patina.

I prefer to use the chemicals that produce the more traditional greens and brown associated with aging bronze. Ferric Nitrate for the browns, and Cupric Nitrate for the greens. It is applied to heated bronze and it reacts with the metal, changing it in the process to browns and greens or combinations of both.

My patina offerings will be for traditional brown, traditional green (or verde de gris, if you prefer) or for the larger frog, green at the front with some of the brown added towards the back. The green options can either be treated with wax (in which case they will darken with frequent handling and achieve an aged look) or sealed with a lacquer to prevent darkening.

Some people literally paint their bronzes with super accurate realism and detail, but I prefer a more natural finish which doesn't disguise the fact that it's a bronze, not some kind of plastic.

Artist credentials?

Art-wise, I've made my living with a pencil since college, drawing storyboards mostly, but also sculpting since moving to Santa Fe in 2005.

Here are some pics of other amphibian bronzes I've made...

"Tree frogs on a vine" close up
"Tree frogs on a vine" close up
"Tree frogs on a vine" Bronze
"Tree frogs on a vine" Bronze
"Froggyball #1"
"Froggyball #1"
"Froggyball #2"
"Froggyball #2"
Smaller version of "Sumo wrestling toads"
Smaller version of "Sumo wrestling toads"
Larger, garden size version of "Sumo wrestling toads"
Larger, garden size version of "Sumo wrestling toads"
"Big boy" and Sprightly mouse.
"Big boy" and Sprightly mouse.
Cane toad
Cane toad
Another cane toad
Another cane toad
Toad bottle opener
Toad bottle opener
Toadem pole with Rocky the bronze frog in attendance
Toadem pole with Rocky the bronze frog in attendance

So what are those letters after my name?

I'm a signature member of the Society of Animal Artists (SAA), and an elected member of the National Sculpture Society (NSS).

I have participated in several of each organization's annual shows.

I've also been honored with awards from the Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Society (MPSGS) at a couple of their annual shows.

Two bottle-opening bronze frog prototypes, each with a different greenish patina
Two bottle-opening bronze frog prototypes, each with a different greenish patina

Thanks for checking out my project, I hope you like it!

Help me get final hardware gang molds to be able to cast a bunch of bronze frog and tree frog bottle-openers
Help me get final hardware gang molds to be able to cast a bunch of bronze frog and tree frog bottle-openers
Functional protoypes of bronze tree-frog and frogs which can open your beer!
Functional protoypes of bronze tree-frog and frogs which can open your beer!

 By the way, I also have another frog related sculpture project running in the art category until Oct 26. You can check it out HERE

'Your Pad Or Mine' running until Oct 26 also on Kickstarter
'Your Pad Or Mine' running until Oct 26 also on Kickstarter

Risks and challenges

I regularly create and produce bronzes and have established relationships with foundries and others necessary to bring about completion. Barring any catastrophe there are no challenges or risks once funding is secured.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Rocky the bronze frog. As my thank you for helping me out, I'll send you your own Rocky the bronze frog talisman.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    TREE FROG OPENER. For a $100 pledge in this tier you will receive ONE bronze TREE FROG bottle opener. Free shipping within the continental United States.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    FROG OPENER. For a $100 pledge in this tier you will receive ONE bronze FROG bottle opener (NOT the tree frog). Free shipping within the continental United States.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $180 or more About $180

    For a $180 pledge you will receive BOTH the bronze frog bottle opener AND the smaller wall hanging tree frog bottle opener. Free shipping within the continental United States.

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Funding period

- (30 days)