I got my LEGO geek on this weekend by attending my local brick convention: BrickCon. My convention isn’t particularly special, it’s just like any other brick convention that’s put on in any number of cities around the world. There are a lot of builders who show off their latest and largest creations, many new friendships are made and old ones are re-kindled, games are played, tips and tricks swapped and of course, lots of LEGO is purchased.
This year was a little different for me. Even though I’ve attended this event for years, this was my first time as an attendee and I’m so glad I finally took the plunge and registered. While I didn’t sign up for any games, bring a build of my own creation, or stay after hours to socialize with the builders, I had a great time and laid the ground work for even more participation next year.
Last year I purchased the Mouse Guard mini figures as well as the DocktorA Mechtorians from CrazyBricks.com. Although this year, I didn’t find anything so ground breaking, I did manage to procure a LEGO elephant and a nice variety of figures to add to my growing collection. Of course my biggest take away from this event wasn’t the ‘stuff’ but the human connections I made.
Before the convention started my fellow Lego Ambassador Luigi Priori warned me that Are Heiseldal, from Norway, would be in attendance and that I should stop by and say ‘Hi.”. Are was easy to spot and I soon headed over to chat him up. It turns out that Are is not only an extremely nice guy, a talented builder but also the man responsible for our article in the first issue of Bricks Culture Magazine. The story, as Are told it, was that he was given a list of potential articles for the magazine and that not all of them would make it in. He could choose any topic from the list and write about it. Happily, the lovely sports writer from Norway, chose us! Thank you Are!! Life certainly can be amazing.
My second fun connection was finally meeting Colin Hemmen who I’ve known through Instagram for the last couple of years. Colin travelled from Hawaii to attend this convention and show off his amazing creations. It was fun to pick out loose brick with Colin, roam the show floor, and generally enjoy each others company as we both nerded out over all the amazing creations. My only regret is that we didn’t get a chance to share a burger together. Next year of sure!!
My third wonderful connection was the discovery of JacQueline Sanchez Jewelry Designs. If you like to wear unique jewelry, show off your geek or simply need to buy your wife a gift to make up for all the money you spend on LEGO, you should check out JacQueline’s work. I’ve never seen LEGO jewelry taken to such a finished and beautiful level. It’s truly wearable art. I love the juxtaposition of the plastic lego bricks paired with diamonds and sterling silver. Her use of the LEGO tire is both beautiful and whimsical. For me it was the perfect combination of passion and art.
This past weekend I also attended my first LEGO Ambassador meeting which was both fun and enlightening. Although as an online LUG, we don’t have many of the same concerns as a physical Lego User Group, it was great to hear what’s going on in the community and meet many of the people I’ve seen in the Ambassador community.
As I talked with people throughout the weekend I was gratified to know that more than a few people have heard of Stuck in Plastic and have a favorable impression of us. I was proud to be representing our online group to my local LEGO community. The positive reaction I received has given me the confidence to jump in with both feet next year and create a presentation on toy photography and studio best practices.
I look forward to my annual brick convention; it never fails to inspire me to get working and creating. This one had the added benefit of inspiring me to want to travel to other conventions and connect with other larger communities. On that note, who wants to travel to the Skærbæk Fan Weekend with me next year?
Do you attend your local brick convention? Does it inspire you? As a toy photographer, what is your take away from these types of events?