"You need help, Eric."

After people learn about what I'm currently doing for a living, many of them often suggest that "I need help." Now, some of them, I'm sure, mean a visit to a psychiatrist might be in order, but I'll hopefully assume that some of them mean that I just need an assistant.

LEGO Watch
"I sorted 500,000 LEGO bricks for Eric, and all I got was this freakin' LEGO watch!"


In late June 2001, a friend of mine, Dorothy, agreed to sort all of my LEGO bricks. I had just returned from an exhibit in Orlando and had many, many tubs of partially assembled bricks that needed to be disassembled and reorganized. Furthermore, I also had a shed full of about 350,000 bricks which had yet to be sorted from their tubs. Oh, and there were also several hundred bags of little 1x1 plates that needed to be opened.

"Do you really want to do this, Dorothy?"

"Sure." (And, yes, I was going to pay her more than just a LEGO watch...)

So for the next few weeks she started to sort.

And sort.

And sort.

The sorting fun was interrupted only by a quick excursion we made to New York City.

Any doubt I had about her enthusiasm, patience, or sorting ability were soon quashed, as I realized that there was no way I would have sorted for five to eight hours a day for weeks and weeks.
Job complete
Dorothy stands next to over 90 Blue Tubs. They're each packed full of a particular color and size.

Granted, this was not hard work, but it was definitely monotonous. Bags were emptied, pieces sorted and placed in tubs, and once the tubs were filled and labelled, more tubs were acquired.

I think what kept her going was the free use of my CD player and DVD/Laserdisc collection.

Oh, and the abundant quantities of Coca-Cola and Krispy Kreme donuts couldn't have hurt.

Anyway, on 9 July 2001 Dorothy sorted the last remaining pieces (a bag of 1x4 yellows, 1x2, 1x3, 2x3, and 2x4 greens, and 1x6 red and blues). In roughly 20 days of work she managed to organize about half a million LEGO bricks.

Nothing more need be said.

Nothing more than, "thank you, Dorothy."


In Fall of 2002, after, taking a sabbatical away from LEGO building for the Summer, I suddenly got very busy when a couple of large commissions came up. The larger of the two involved building some architectual sculptures while the other was the building of a mosaic.

In order to complete both on schedule (the mosaic, particularly, had a short time frame) I hired a friend to assemble the mosaic. Lauren fell for the 'this will be fun' trap and signed on...

The project was going to require some gluing (the back layer of the mosaic), so we worked out a schedule whereby I would glue ten rows of bricks on the back layer of the mosaic, and then Lauren would follow the printed instructions and actually construct the image from grayscale bricks and plates.

Despite this mosaic requiring about 40,000 pieces and being over 5 feet tall (it was, in fact, taller than Lauren), we managed to finish it almost one week ahead of schedule (in 21 days).

There were only a few minor mishaps (and not too many late nights), but the time saved allowed me to progress with my other project (the first part of which was The Eiffel Tower).

And by the end of it Lauren was still claiming that it was rather fun (or at least not unenjoyable).

Thanks, Lauren... you receive a 'mosaic building degree' from Eric's School O'LEGO.

(Oh, and she's also become quite proficient with my digital camera whilst snapping shots of me working).


Fall seems to always bring a flood of LEGO projects. As with the previous year, 2003 got fairly busy for me as summer ended. Suddenly I realized that I had several notable commissions. With one of them being a large mosaic, I decided I'd recruit some help once again.

Unfortunately Lauren (above) was a bit busy with school, so while she said she might be able to work a bit on a mosaic project, she could not promise anything.

As luck would have it, during a conversation with a new friend, I learned that this person, Abby, was about to leave her current job. She had decided to focus full time on her business as a graphics designer.

Not knowing if that endeavor would require all of her time (goodness knows my job is not always 'full time'), I asked if she might want to build with LEGO. For pay.

It took a bit of explaining, of course; but she caught on pretty quickly (having the Graphic Design degree, and all) and said that she'd consider it.

After a quick introduction to my work space she was convinced (tricked? nooo...) it was worth a try. We agreed to a working fee (for this mosaic it was easiest to pay by the 'baseplate completed'... this would also allow me to easily pay more than one person if Lauren did find time to contribute).

The pictures to the right show Abby as she has completed her very first plate (mostly black -- verrryyy easy one, there) and also as she assembles a trickier one later (her fourth, I think). Will she still be smiling after the tenth plate? The twentieth?

And what is the image she is actually constructing? Well, I am keeping that as a surprise... even from her. I just gave her the printout instructions, from which it's rather hard to deduce what's being built. It's all an attempt to keep her intrigued so she doesn't throw up her arms in disgust once she realizes, "this is NUTS! what am I doing?!?!"

Now that the project is done, I'll link to it: Song Of The Angels.

Thanks, Abby.


My friend Sarah was kind enough to help me build one of my mosaics ("Twenty-One" -- commissioned by the Mathematics Department of Auburn University). We worked on this one together during the last week of Spring Semester right before she went home for the summer.

It was not a terribly complicated mosaic (no printed instructions were needed). I had planned out the whole thing beforehand and blocked off which colors would go where, so Sarah then just helped me click the pieces into place one by one.

She wanted to do the smaller squares (which were of the more unusual colors), so I was "stuck" with the big swaths of red, blue, yellow and such.

I can't complain though, of all my past assistants Sarah worked the cheapest [grin]... maybe just a free Thai dinner or something? I can't remember. Anyway...

Thanks, Sarah.

Back to Eric Harshbarger's main LEGO page.