I like them because they are a simple low tech form of entertainment that has stood the test of time. You can work on them alone or with a group. Prior to Covid-19 upending things both my local library and the nearby laundry mat both always had community jigsaw puzzles going where anyone could sit down and help out putting them together. The library also had a special section of their ongoing fundraising "book sale" where you could donate puzzles and/or purchase puzzles others had donated. It was a way of passing them around while supporting the library.
I also like jigsaw puzzles because doing them helps attune one to observing small details, minor shifts in color or pattern, and tiny differences in shape. (Seems like good permaculture skills to practice!) You get to make order out of chaos as you discover what parts fit together. There is also that tiny dopamine hit when you successfully pop a piece into its proper place. Did I mention you don't need some huge power grid infrastructure to do a jigsaw puzzle? The power can be knocked out and your jigsaw puzzle will still function just fine. You don't need to remember yet another annoying password to access it either! ;)
To me jigsaw puzzles seem in keeping with a permaculture lifestyle.
For all these reasons and many others earlier this year I decided to produce some jigsaw puzzles featuring my own artwork and that of other artists I know and/or work with. It's a little side hustle to help feed the growing trend of jigsaw puzzles and hopefully generate a bit of extra revenue. So if you or someone you know are into jigsaw puzzles I invite you check them out because in a world stuffed to the gills with complex technological entertainments it's nice to remember and promote the joys of simple low tech ones too.
While supplies last I've got 4 different puzzles. They are all just $25 each plus shipping (US only I'm afraid.) You can purchase them all on my website in this section.
Here are the different puzzles.
Spinning into Being This has been the most popular and the one I had the most produced of. It features a fine silver vessel, Luminous Relic 1628, that I crafted from a flat sheet through the hammering techniques known as raising and chasing. This particular vessel did win a major award in the art metalsmithing world, first place in the 2019 Saul Bell Awards for the holloware division. This 1000 piece puzzle suggests a clockwork of motion around a sacred inner space.
Chromatic Strata This next puzzle was based on a collaborative piece I made with fellow metalsmith David Barnhill. Mr. Barnhill is a modern day master of the Japanese metalsmithing technique known as mokume gane. This is a way of fusing and patterning a sheet of metal made from many, many layers of different nonferrous metals. It's a technical and challenging process. David made the sheet of metal and I then hammered it up into the vessel form. Part of my goal with this puzzle project was to also provide a bit of a passive income stream to other artists, so he does receive a royalty for each puzzle sold. This 1000 piece puzzle features our collaborative piece known as Layered Resplendence 69.
Tooled Sanctuary Though the image in this 500 piece jigsaw puzzle has the sense of being a tooled leather shell housing some radiant creature, this is actually my hammered copper vessel Luminous Relic 1676. My market research suggested that there were some puzzle people who only want 500 piece or smaller puzzles so I thought I should do at least one in this size.
Foam and Moss As I type this it would seem that this is the puzzle that will sell out first. Only a few remain! This 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle features the work of artist Cara O'Brien. Combining reclaimed wood with handmade porcelain components Cara creates biomorphic sculptures that explore ideas of growth, life, and transformation. Cara will also receive a royalty for each puzzle sold.
I'm hoping this business venture is successful enough that I can produce more puzzles featuring the work of even more artists I know. Jigsaw puzzles also seem like a potentially good medium to feature images directly about permaculture practices as a way to spread the message to the puzzle community as they swap and share their puzzles. If I can come up with some good images for this you may see those produced too! Thanks for reading my "blatant advertising" post. I hope you'll consider my jigsaw puzzles because they should provide many hours of low tech entertainment either for yourself or as gifts for any puzzle enthusiasts in your life.
Thanks Nancy. It's yet to be determined if the whole project is going to be successful from a financial standpoint, but I am at the break even point. So if nothing else it's been fun to do. In the process it forced me to learn how to set up that e-commerce store and streamline my whole packing and shipping operation, both of which have greatly helped with my primary business of selling art. Thus in stepping out of my comfort zone growth happened! ;)