Nor’ B

Tell us about yourself:
I’ve been creating since the 1960s, and continue to find new avenues to explore.

How long have you been an AFOL (adult fan of LEGO):
Since the mid-1990s.

How did your interest in the hobby develop:
When I first encountered LEGO minifigs, I fell in love with them; customizing was the obvious next step, using I skills I’d learned earlier while building scale models and sculpting my own figures. My goal was to create work that looked like it came from a LEGO factory — these days, I can get pretty close!

How did you find ParLUGment:
In September 2003, an AFOL forum mentioned that the group would exhibit a LEGO Train layout at Ottawa’s model railway show. I attended, taking along a few of my custom figures. The figures were a hit; I was invited to the next meeting, where I became LUG member number 8!

What is your favourite theme:
I enjoy classic Train, Pirates and Castle, but sets have always been somewhat irrelevant to my work.

What is your favourite aspect of the hobby:
To me, LEGO is a rewarding medium for creating three-dimensional caricatures — evoking, but not recreating something. I love seeing my impressions become reality. With each custom figure (or building, or vehicle), I hope for something that captures an essence while still looking “LEGO-like”. There’s a struggle between the limitations (expense, limited availability of elements and colours) and the rewards of working with LEGO — that’s why my creations are often small or use very few elements.

What is your proudest accomplishment within the hobby:
In 2019, the Ottawa Public Library approached me to mount a month-long solo display of my LEGO work; it was eventually seen by 30,000 people. I was able to create an attractive overview of one possible approach to this hobby, showing the public a few of my methods and projects, and hopefully encouraging some of them to be creative too, in their own ways. 
Other highlights include: doing consulting work for The LEGO Group as a LEGO Ambassador, organizing ParLUGment displays at Maker Faire and the IEEE Robotics Fair, seeing pictures of my comics-related custom work in print at both Marvel and DC, and being commissioned by comics creators to recreate their characters in LEGO minifig form. Oh! and also: creating a convincing fabric kilt for minifigs that’s still way better than the official version that came out years later! 🙂

“Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to be welcomed and supported by various hobby communities, including this one. I try to pay that debt forward, doing my bit to make others feel they have a place at the table too. How could I do otherwise, as a woman who often finds Lego an utter pain in the neck? (Sometimes, working with wood, cardboard, plastic or sculptor’s putty can be soooooooo much more satisfying!) It’s been a joy to see the AFOL community grow over the years, adding different faces, passions and approaches to the hobby, all without erasing earlier treasures. I hope I’ll continue to be inspired for years to come, and perhaps get a chance to share something of my own with those who’re interested.”

Nor’s work can be found as “nhblack” on Brickshelf.