W5, Ireland’s award winning science and discovery centre has acquired the services of Thurles-born model maker Mark Maher for an enchanting new model display called “Once Upon A Christmas.” W5, for those not familiar with this incredible exhibition centre, is part of the Odyssey, Northern Ireland’s Landmark Millennium Project, based in the Abercorn Basin, beside the River Lagan in Belfast.
So what has Mark Maher been getting up to recently. Well Mark has spent the last three years working in New Zealand as special effects artist for none other than Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of “The Hobbit.”
Mark has now been enlisted by W5 for his expertise as a miniature model maker and sculptor to recreate scenes for a brand new Christmas experience, where families will step into a world of ‘fairy tales’ and ‘happily ever afters’ as they stroll round a mythical castle square filled with Christmas ambience in the Odyssey Centre.
Wandering throughout this square will be wonderfully costumed fairytale and storybook characters, both meeting, greeting and posing for photos with all those who visit. To reach this castle square in the centre, visitors will enter through a display of old-style fashioned Christmas windows and discover model sets from six classic children’s books and fairy tales.
Each of these beautifully detailed models have been lovingly created by Mark especially for W5 and will feature scenes from Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and The Snow Queen.
Mark has been working on these models at W5 now since July of this year and already some of his work has been described as “simply breathtaking.”
Of course Mark’s other work can be seen on the big screen (Trailer above) when the much anticipated “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” gets its cinema release on December 13th next. In this forthcoming screen episode the Dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf have successfully escaped the Misty Mountains, and Bilbo has gained the One Ring and they will all continue their journey to get their gold back from the Dragon, Smaug.
Visitors can get up close and personal with Mark Maher’s mini masterpieces for W5 when the festive fun starts at the Odyssey centre on Saturday November 23rd next.
Note: This model collection will go on tour as “Once Upon a Fairytale,” later in the year, as it has strong links to the National Curriculum for Literacy and Creativity.