Brickery: The Lego world as another way to cope with stress

A detailed world of adults’ childhood hobby was opened up to the Estevan community for one day. For the fourth time, the Saskatchewan Lego Users Group (SLUG) brought its Brickery show to the Energy City on Saturday.

About a dozen people from all over Saskatchewan took part in the show.

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“We have seven people come from Saskatoon, mostly Regina and then my wife and I are from Estevan. So there are different communities around here,” said Christopher Ursu, who is a member of SLUG and along with his wife Jillian, organizes Brickery in Estevan.

Usually they have about 400 people going through. This year's numbers were down a little bit, but the show still attracted quite a few Lego fans.

Ursu himself has been into Lego for about 17 years and he’s been with SLUG since its inception. Over 10 years the group has grown from the original five members to about 50 all across the province.

To make the show even more fun, the organizers set up a couple of contests.

“We have a SLUG contest. So this is members where they built a landmark from Saskatchewan, and we provided pictures just for the contest,” said Ursu. “My wife and I are hosting the show, so we chose the challenge idea and then everyone (could) pick their own landmark.”

Brickery
Fire trucks made out of Lego pieces by Ray Jacobs were on display Saturday. Photo by Anastasiia Bykhovskaia

The other contest invited 5-14-year-old kids to build something from a book, comic or movie. The best projects were awarded with new Lego sets.

SLUG was created for adults who share a passion for Lego. Colby Goss, who is one of the SLUG members, and along with Cooper Monroe and a few other people built a Great Ball Contraption displayed at the Brickery, said that he got back into Lego in adult life because it helps him to leave the daily problems aside.

“It's just fun, after a day of work it’s an interesting way to relax, get my mind off the daily grind,” said Goss. “At work, I don’t have much time to be creative, so this is something that creates the outlet to get any ideas out of my head and into real life.”

The Great Ball Contraption is a project consisting of individual modules that carry balls from left to right, to the next module over. It’s all running on Lego motors and gears that pick the balls up and moves them along the round.”  

Goss and Monroe explained that constructions like that are usually built by groups of people and made in a way that they can grow as far as the constructors’ imagination could go.

“Different individuals worked on individual modules. I brought the modules here today and asserted the look here. It’s a beautiful circuit. It’s really hypnotizing,” said Goss. 

“Some of it came from different people's imagination. There is (also) an online community. There are some instructions that other people have done, but we’ve done our own twists on it. Like the dinosaur there, it’s based upon a design, but it’s just a normal … tower, but the person who made it modified it in order to make it more interesting to look at.”

When buying Lego, SLUG members usually see beyond the sets and are looking for pieces that could work for the projects their imagination is painting.

“Often when I build I have an idea and I try to find ways to make it work. And often it’s a trial and error,” said Goss.

Each piece takes time, inspiration and patience. But when the time comes, Cooper and Monroe don’t think twice to reassemble everything and get moving onto the next model.

“Often I want to use pieces for other projects. It’s hard to see the project go, but then I have the fun of creating something new,” said Goss. “That’s why it’s so cool to do these shows, because … a big part of Lego is ‘well, I’ve built this, what do I do with it?’ So we get to show that sort of stuff off.”

“These ones especially (modular projects) it’s a lot about tweaking, so we can take this apart and rebuild three or four times before they work properly,” said Monroe. “It’s a little sad to take this apart, but we usually document heavily and we have pages of our pictures.”

The Estevan’s Brickery is one of the SLUG’s standalone events, and the biggest show usually takes place in Moose Jaw's Western Development Museum in the summer.

For bigger shows constructors have a lot more modules put together and they are usually quite flexible.

 “Larger shows have individual classes where you can buy a small kit and build one of the modules that can be a part of the giant one. The big shows in Toronto and Seattle would probably be the circumference of this room size,” added Monroe.

The room used for the Brickery was the Estevan 60 and Over Club’s room, which allowed enough space for the participants. Ursu said, “The Over 60 was fantastic with tables and the venue, and are really good partners.”

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