Jen Smart is an ER and ICU nurse, and a mother of 6. Susan Earls owns Rosebud Antiques in Pleasant Grove and is the mother of 2. Both Women live in American Fork and they are partners in the current season of Fox’s LEGO® Masters. The competition features two person teams who complete building challenges, using 5 million LEGO® bricks, each week for a chance to win the $100,000 prize.
Jen got her start early she said, “I’ve always been a LEGO kid, but I picked it up as an art form 6 years ago. I found a local LEGO community for adults, Utah LEGO Users Group (ULUG) and that is where I met Susan.”
Susan came to building a little later, “I didn’t grow up playing with LEGO, but when I started buying sets for my first child I started playing with them right along with him. Then I met other adults in the community and joined ULUG.”
LEGO® Masters premiered last Tuesday, June 1 with host Will Arnett and two judges from the LEGO group creative designers, Amy Corbett and Jamie Berard. The two also serve as “brick masters” who roam the competition area offering advice and feedback.
Both women loved their experience on the show. Susan described it as a fantastic experience, “where I got to make so many great new friends among the other contestants. And the amount of bricks we got to play with was unbelievable.”
Jen had similar praise for the show, “I had a blast and I am so glad I got to take Susan with me. We were gone for seven weeks for filming and that’s a long time to be away from family. But we had full family support and we had each other. We are both tough-as-nails gals and we don’t give up during hard experiences. I would do it again. I loved every person on the other teams and we had so much fun together.”
The toughest aspect of the competition for both Jen and Susan was the time limits associated with each challenge. Jen said “I would lose track of the time. I can hyperfocus and solve problems on a genius level but in the zone, I lose track of time. When I went down that rabbit hole I needed Susan to pull me out.”
Susan agreed, “The most frustrating thing was the time clock. It changes everything. When I build at home and make awesome art it can take weeks or months working around my schedules. On the show, we only have 12 or 14 hours and you have to hammer it out. It was challenging but great fun.”
Though they aren’t allowed to give away any details of the show they described one of the challenges that was featured on a promo. Called the Shaker Challenge the idea was to create a scene in an earthquake with their buildings collapsing. That was challenging for Jen and Susan because they explained when they made LEGO art at home it was to display, the competition turned all that on its head by asking them to build things to destroy. It required a mind shift for both of them to be able to build something that looks good and maintain artistic integrity but be willing to destroy it.
For both women, LEGO building is an art form. Jen’s favorite creation is a 6-foot replica of Wonder Woman complete with her golden lasso. It took her three months to complete using time before and after work. It is currently on display at the SCERA Center for the Arts in Orem.
Susan likes to build architectural creations with buildings, and landscaping. She made a replica of her antique store complete with stained glass windows.
And for the budding LEGO builders out there both Susan and Jen had some advice.
Susan said, “Go into it with an open mind and no expectations. It is an amazing experience if you don’t know what to expect. They will throw all kinds of things at you and that was the funnest part
And from Jen, “Get an awesome LEGO friend and practice. Don’t just build from the LEGO sets but try new techniques and build things with instructions. Build big and have fun. It is a toy, and yet we’re adults doing amazing art. Keep the wonder and awe.”
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