BUILD IT... AND T

An aquar­ium, a cathe­dral, a di­nosaur at­tack and even Su­per­man’s home – how a Kil­dare woman creates amaz­ing dis­plays us­ing one of the world’s most pop­u­lar toys

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Pa­trice Har­ring­ton

SHE’S Ire­land’s Lego Lady. Jes­sica Far­rell, 48, from Rathangan, Co Kil­dare, re­cently made it to the semi­fi­nals of Chan­nel 4 show Lego Masters, along with the youngest of her four chil­dren, Faolan, 14.

While the win­ners of the se­ries were re­vealed on Thurs­day night to be Steve Guin­ness and Nate Dias, Jes­sica and Faolan made quite an im­pres­sion on the judges, which in­cluded Daire O Bri­ain.

Some of the chal­lenges on the pop­u­lar se­ries in­cluded build­ing a large chair, a child’s hobby horse, fun­fair amuse­ments and a cake stand laden with del­i­ca­cies.

‘It was the ex­pe­ri­ence of a life­time,’ Jes­sica ad­mits this week. ‘Usu­ally Faolan and I work separately and are squab­bling over who gets more space on the ta­ble. So work­ing to­gether was a chal­lenge.’

Off-screen, Jes­sica’s pro­lific work is equally if not even more im­pres­sive, show­ing con­sid­er­able imag­i­na­tive flair and the mi­nut­est at­ten­tion to de­tail. Her var­ied cre­ations span ev­ery­thing from an ex­act replica of London’s salu­bri­ous Her Majesty’s Theatre to a town­wreck­ing plant mon­ster.

She is the only Ir­ish per­son whose cre­ations have been cho­sen for dis­play in the re­vamped Lego House in Den­mark, where the in­ter­lock­ing plas­tic toy was first in­vented.

‘It is a tremen­dous hon­our. The Lego House is a new build­ing that’s hav­ing its grand open­ing later this month. I was very for­tu­nate to be one of the very few Lego fans asked to ex­hibit there. I’m def­i­nitely the only res­i­dent of Ire­land who has been asked to ex­hibit there,’ she con­firms this week. ‘I built a se­ries of in­te­ri­ors called Ran­dom Rooms — a bed­room, kitchen, din­ing room, all done to high de­tail. I have another piece in there which is a study of brick-built flow­ers, so that draws on my two ar­eas of in­ter­est.’

Jes­sica is a keen gar­dener and runs a small nurs­ery in Rathangan vil­lage when she is not locked in her Lego room por­ing over her lat­est cre­ation. She grew up in a fam­ily of artists, in­clud­ing a mother and grand­mother who were both ex­cep­tional painters.

‘I am not good enough in fine art to ex­press beauty, de­tail, shape, form, colour. In­stead Lego is my medium,’ she ex­plains, and her mother bought Jes­sica her first ba­sic Lego set when she was just four years old.

‘I still have it in its orig­i­nal box! She got it for me to see what I could do, to chal­lenge my cre­ativ­ity.’

Jes­sica loved build­ing Lego in child­hood, but gave it up as she got older. ‘Most adult builders have what we call a dark age, where we turn away from light of Lego and get in­volved in things like work and fam­ily rear­ing, which pushes Lego to the back­ground. Then some­thing hap­pens to rekin­dle the spark. I started to get ex­tremely jeal­ous of my chil­dren’s Christ­mas presents. My hus­band Michael said, “Why don’t you just get one?” Then I started to build at home qui­etly with­out any­one know­ing about it. Un­til one day a fam­ily friend walked in and saw it and said, “You re­ally should be do­ing some­thing with this”.

‘I joined Brick.ie, the Ir­ish as­so­ci­a­tion for adult fans of Lego. It’s full of re­ally great peo­ple, there’s a won­der­ful sense of ca­ma­raderie.’ Builders in the group share ideas, dis­cuss projects and dis­play their mod­els to­gether. ‘Join­ing Brick.ie opened up a whole new world for me. My life is un­recog­nis­able now com­pared to what it was be­fore,’ says Jes­sica. ‘Now I hope to keep build­ing un­til they nail shut my Lego-built cof­fin!’

‘THIS was the first model I built that was ex­hib­ited — at Ti­tanic Belfast in 2015. It came about af­ter a chal­lenge by my el­dest daugh­ter, who is a gamer. First I had to play the game, which was part of her chal­lenge. Then she talked to her gam­ing friends so we could choose the most iconic level to build from Lego. They all agreed on this par­tic­u­lar level. She got a whole bunch of screen­shots from it and I worked from the screen­shots to recre­ate a model to look ex­actly like it so that a gamer would recog­nise every sin­gle fea­ture. It took me four months.’ TOMB RAIDER

‘THIS was com­mis­sioned by an Ir­ish travel agency Fol­low The Camino to pro­mote their pil­grim­ages on the route of St James in Spain. It was dis­played in the Hol­i­day World Show in the RDS Dublin in Jan­uary.’ THE CATHE­DRAL OF SAN­TI­AGO DE COMPOSTELA

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