I’ve loved Lego my whole life, indeed many of my happiest memories as a child are Lego related, either building with friends or my younger brother. We would buy sets and parts packs and build anything our imaginations could design out of the elements. We marveled at the wildly creative creations we saw online but didn’t realize there was a whole network of builders and Lego third party sellers out there until much later.
My Lego activities hit a local peak in high school, then like many Lego fans I experienced a sharp decline of time/interest through the busy years of college and my new job until I discovered Lego Digital Designer in my mid twenties. After a few years of digital design my spouse and I bought a house and I had the fortune to reunite with my physical Lego collection. Thus I began to build in the real and purchase (to my extremely supportive wife’s bewilderment) more and more parts and sets. Since that time I completely took over the office and just recently set up a design space in my garage.
Erector Set Artist
In 2012 this 1913 Tool Shop II won top honors as the “Best Model of the Year” at the A. C. Gilbert Heritage Society’s National Convention in Chicago. It is an original design built by Randy Sauder of Calhoun, Georgia. Over 900 man-hours were needed to complete the project between 2010 and 2012. The shop has twice been an exhibit at the Smithsonian affiliate Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Georgia.
Because of reliability and space constraint the shop is powered by one modern 1/25th horsepower Dayton gear motor rather than period erector motors. The motor is located back right on the lower level hidden under the Metal Shear. The inner frame is solid oak and the floor is ½” plywood covered with approximately 500 Popsicle sticks. There are over 150 miscellaneous vintage advertising signs or parts of signs. The Christmas tree was hand decorated while the crouching man and small boy riding the Hoist were home made using wood, wire, modeling clay and paint. Under the tree are miniature late 1920’s A.C. Gilbert Erector red box sets including the famous White Truck. In the first half of the 20th century A. C. Gilbert erector sets were among the most popular Christmas gifts in the United States.
As a general music teacher in the School District of Philadelphia, I always try to find ways in creating music with students in non- traditional means; such as, percussive compositions out of chairs. It was not until the summer of 2016 when I started using Lincoln Logs as a form of animation and music development at home. I would animate clay figures building various structures out of Lincoln Logs and then compose music to go with those animations. The first Lincoln Log video was released on my YouTube channel in January 2017 and a new release every month thereafter. I enjoy the challenge Lincoln Logs brings when creating structures beyond the traditional cabin. Healy Lodge is the first of my works to be illustrated in a museum (Blocks to Bricks: Construction Imagination at the Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, Illinois) and I hope this piece and the other artistic structures inspires people to create beyond the traditional means of any toy.
As a music composer, director, and film editor, Peter Spero has created instrumental compositions and short videos to express the Blocks to Bricks uniquely creative and artistic atmosphere. Peter comes from the world of musical composition and film creation, most recently completing the score for the feature film Heavens To Betsy by Robert Alaniz. As a touring concert keyboard player, he has been signed to MCA, RCA, and Chrysalis records with bands Kevin Lee and the Lonesome City Kings and TAMI Show, opening for Pearl Jam, Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon, Randy Travis, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Charlie Daniels, and many more. As a studio recording artist Peter has worked with producers such as Frank Filipetti (James Taylor, Foreigner, Survivor) Mike Chapman (Blondie, The Knack), Frank Sullivan (Survivor), Don Dixon (REM, Smithereens). His compositions has been on the Grammy ballot, as well as featured in TV and film media.
Kevin J. Walter
Kevin has completed his M.A. and is currently preparing towards a PhD in Roman history at Freiburg University, Germany. Having been involved in building LEGO© since he can remember, Kevin spends timeless hours and weekends in his attic to produce unique LEGO© creations. These include, for example, his model of Sauron’s tower Barad-dûr from the Lord of the Rings, which has been under construction since 2011.
In the recent past Kevin has felt inclined to connect his two passions: History and LEGO©. This fusion has resulted in the founding of the project Public BRICKstory, which aims to make the object of history more lifelike and tangible for young learners. Here, Kevin builds LEGO© models in historical settings and offers exhibitions and workshops to the public to convey his interpretation of the models in their historic representation.
I have a BSFA from Valparaiso University. I studied photography and graphic design. Most of my post graduate career has been teaching art to youth. I have also donated my skills to non-profits, doing photography, web design, and graphic design work. I began building with LEGO when my family received our first set when I was about 3 years old. Though I never stopped building with them, I did not consider them an art medium until I was a parent myself. As a passionate armature landscape gardener, I was desperate for a way to indulge in my interest during the Wisconsin winters when I realized I could build gardens, using LEGO. From that “ah ha” moment, I never stopped creating with LEGO though it was just a private passion for about 20 years. In January of 2016, I joined the AFOL community for the first time. I build with LEGO because I enjoy the challenge creating with limitations of the medium.
I have been making these very special kinetic machines for over 20 years. They are the most fun ever to design and build, and they fascinate and mesmerize people. My rolling ball sculptures are unique, individual, and composed works of art made of welded stainless steel rod and hand bent rails, and with acrylic painted metal panels in an Aboriginal dot painting style. They are motorized and convey 12 to 15 colorful 1 inch glass marbles along shiny hand bent rails and through mesmerizing kinetic elements like loops, spinners, funnels and jumps. They are beautiful and composed artistic statements for the home – whether moving or standing still. I have been dreaming of making rolling ball sculptures since I was 10. My Auntie Sheila had a Roy Pullen rolling ball sculpture of bronze rod, and I was completely mesmerized – wondering how it was made, why it was made, and who would have thought of it. I can still remember the path the balls took along their way, and the sound they made. I was astounded that someone could create such magical art. It amazes me that we can imagine, and then through our effort, create and shape our world. I was influenced by the Apollo rocket program, Hot Wheels, Southern California skateboarding and body surfing, and by Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers. I am very proud of the 20+ years I have spent developing my art. Only a very few people in the world build these Rolling Ball Sculptures for sale.
Stephan "slfroden" Froden
Stephan “slfroden” Froden has been a lifelong fan of LEGO. He studied Industrial Design in Melbourne, Australia, and enjoys the challenge of designing complex mechanisms. He has created award winning LEGO models and his work has been featured in a number of LEGO books that showcase innovative LEGO design. Whilst working in the US, and without access to his LEGO collection, Stephan decided to build a 50:1 LEGO Minifigure Costume for Halloween based on the Classic LEGO Spaceman from 1978. The main goals of the costume were to make sure that it can be worn by an adult, to keep the proportions as close to a real Minifigure as possible, and for it to be free-standing when not being worn. The costume is primarily constructed using foam-core board, hot glue, and fleece fabric, and it was completed in 2017.
Matt got his first K’NEX set in 2003 at the age of 7. He loved the versatility of the toy and how much could be done with it. As his collection grew, so did his ideas. Once he found an online community of K’NEXers, he eventually grew a friendship with Kyle. Matt is currently in his 5th year of a Bachelor of Civil Engineering at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.
Kyle lives in Tennessee and is currently studying mechanical engineering. When he was 7 years old, he got his first K’NEX set. In 2008 he started a Youtube channel featuring videos of his K’NEX machines. He enjoys designing things with K’NEX because there are limitless projects that can be built, and it’s a fun challenge. It inspires him to use his imagination and play around with new mechanisms. Him and Matt have enjoyed working on collaboration projects since 2012.
I was introduced to the world of Lego when my sister won a Basic Lego set in 1968. We spend many a rainy day playing and creating as young children. My love of Lego was rekindled when I qualified as a Primary Teacher and saw the diverse benefits for learning, and again when I had two children. I cannot guess the number of hours we spent as a family, building, creating and problem solving together.
I am now self-employed, selling Lego pieces to enthusiasts across the world, through online sites and Lego Exhibitions in Europe, with my husband who developed our business when we moved from the UK to France in 2008. Alongside the business my husband and I joined the AFOL world and built MOC’s for displaying at Lego Exhibitions.
These have progressed from simple scenes to more complex art inspired pieces. We like to inspire others, especially children, to think out of the Lego box with its instructions and into the world of infinite possibilities.
Arjan Oude Kotte
Born in 1974 I have been playing with LEGO most of my childhood up until I was 13/14 years old. I built mostly city related things like ships and houses. The LEGO ideas books were a huge source of inspiration. Saving up money from birthdays to buy the bigger LEGO sets like the white model team truck set 5580. Then the dark ages came. I got back into LEGO about the age of 25 when me and my brother started sorting out our LEGO sets. I took, of course, set 5580 home together with the blue technic Go Cart 854 and the Dune Buggy 8845. I left the rest of the collection at my brothers house and started buying the larger technic sets like the Ferrari Enzo, mobile crane etc. The last set I bought was the LEGO PF motorized Bulldozer 8275. It was that set that got me searching on the internet for a solution for the blade that wasn’t going up and down smooth enough. I then found out I wasn’t the only adult still building LEGO sets. I came across the most beautiful creations made by some very good builders. In my opinion their creations were even better then the ones LEGO released. I wanted to do that as well. So, I stopped buying sets and started to build my own creations. At first they were all mining machines like shovels and crushers until I drove past a harbor and saw a fishing trawler. I turned that in to a LEGO model and from that time on I’m hooked on building maritime creations like large offshore ships and tugboats. At the moment I am busy creating a 3×3 m, large harbor layout with buildings, ships and everything related to it. Most of my models are built in Minifig scale (1 to 40).