my name is...not important. I am a puzzle. We are many.
What matters to me here is to introduce my friend. My human friend.
He is a simple and quiet person who would really like to share with you his passion for personalized jigsaw puzzles, and perhaps inspire you. And perhaps help you make one.
Have you ever travelled to a place, seen something beautiful and thought "oh this would be an interesting puzzle" ?
This is exactly what he wants to share with you.
He didn't grow up with any passion for puzzles, I actually think he has never done any when he was a child. But he received some as gifts, kept the boxes and later on in his twenties he tried one or two shily. He wanted to do something funny, entertaining, relaxing but at the same time challenging and rewarding. And...well, that's how we met.
He discovered a passion. He discovered a world full of pieces, colours, creativity and strategic thinking.
Completing medium size puzzles (1000/1500/2000 pieces) is a lot of fun, but he discovered he could also learn something from that. No, I didn't teach him anything. He discovered everything by himself.
For instance, you can learn to be more patient. It takes time and dedication to achieve any target in life, and in the same way it takes time and dedication to connect all the pieces and complete a puzzle. I have seen so many trying... but rarely things happen if you are not willing to dedicate a lot of time and do not put much of an effort. A puzzle is not exception to this rule.
Then you learn to care about details, because every single piece in front of you is unique (has a unique shape, patterns and combination of colours) and you need good observation skills.
And it's a good excercise for your brain. Have you ever thought about it? It promotes problem solving and it improves your memory. In particular your visual memory is very much stimulated all throughout the process.
Last but not least, it also teaches you to see the big picture rather than the single piece. When you are stuck in a particularly difficult area of the puzzle and you see you really can't connect a piece, just move to a different area. See things from a higher perspective and don't get obsessed by a single piece, I can wait! Everything is connected in a puzzle, and developing a different area will sooner or later help you develop the particularly difficult area as well.
All these things can be applied to your life and the miriade of daily challenges you human beings have to face (well, I think my life is pretty easy instead).
To my human friend making puzzles has always been an experience, a journey, not just a game or a hobby to kill time. He enjoys every single minute of it (and I enjoy his company).
As he completed more and more 'classic' puzzles (the ones he could easily find in the shops - from the most important brands) he felt the desire to raise the bar and try more stimulating challenges. One day he suddenly told me: "what would be more satisfying than making a puzzle from a picture that reminds you of a moment YOU lived, a place YOU have been to, a feeling YOU had?
A puzzle of which the difficulty level was decided by your eyes, your inspiration and feelings at that moment, not by someone else. Something personal that you could not find in any shop, something you will remember forever. There's nothing better than that, in my humble opinion".
By that time I had already noticed he often thought back to all those moments in which his eyes saw something nice and his mind was already turning that view into a difficult puzzle, a challenge that would have kept him entertained for a long time. But then he had always to go back to reality, to the standard puzzles he found at the shop, and that always left a feeling of incompletion.
That's why I decided to buy him a photocamera that could follow him wherever he travelled.
Yes, he is not an expert photographer and that camera is not the best in the market, but I see he is happy with that and he really enjoys looking for new and challenging subjects or sceneries. I noticed that his eyes are shining every time he sees his pictures slowly come alive and become a puzzle.
Do not expect him to see things with the eye of a photographer but rather with the eye of a puzzle lover. He told me he will never be a professional photographer, not sure why but he clearly doesn't want.
In any case, if you want to order a personalized medium size puzzle you need high resolution pictures (no matter which company is manufacturing it) so the quality of the pictures is important. He needed a decent machine that could support him in those moments of inspiration and accurately replicate the way he saw things in his mind.
As you will notice, he loves spending time in the nature, walking or hiking or just relaxing in silence. He keeps telling me he finds it very inspiring, recharging and rewarding. That's why the majority of the pictures he takes are usually referring to the magnificence of nature and landscapes. I personally agree with that, but you know I have been observing humans for a long time and I believe it's subjective. People may find inspiration in really anything else (even a street packed of cars) when looking for challenging puzzles. There should not be any limit.
I see my friend is often looking for a scenery with several different colours (especially green and yellow or orange and red), difficult and irregular patterns and many different elements that may shape a complicated puzzle with a steep learning curve.
He usually doesn't like puzzles with only 2 or 3 macro areas. That would be too much simple so probably boring and not challenging. But you never know, it depends on the scenery I guess (or the memories connected to it). I have the feeling that there will be exceptions.
I have noticed he likes playing with the built in camera filters just before taking a picture, but he doesn't like to edit pictures afterwards (and he doesn't know how to do that). In particular he finds it interesting to mix one colour with black and white, he told me that may result in a beautiful artwork.
I am not sure about that, but you will see for yourself in the Doi Inthanon black and white puzzle coming soon.
I don't rule out the possibility of seeing him doing a totally black and white puzzle one day (he doesn't talk about it, he is kind of scared, but I know he wants).
He loves big panoramic puzzles (and 3000 pieces landscape puzzles as well), but it's hard to find a company that can print them so at the moment those ideas are in stand by.
He will not tell you, so I have to explain everything (that's why he wanted my help, I suppose).
As a general rule, every new post in the blog section (MY PUZZLES) will be a completed puzzle that he wants to share with you.
First you will see the original picture he took, followed by pictures regarding the progress in assembling the puzzle. In few cases you may also find two original pictures. One is simply a cut version of the full-size original one, put there for preview reasons (the preview on the blog menu needs a standard horizontal picture).
Then there will be a description of the challenge and what inspired him, followed by other useful references such as number of pieces, difficulty level (in his opinion, not mine), size of the puzzle and manufacturer.
Do not expect my friend to always tell you where he took his pictures. Sometimes he will, sometimes he won't. That's how he is. Once he told me he likes keeping a bit of mistery here and there, as simple as that.
I am not sure it makes sense, this is just the language he has in his mind when he deals with puzzles. Just try to understand him... and for more information please refer to the MY TIPS section. We created that section together (he was talking and I was writing down everything). We wanted to try to help all those people who want to make puzzles but usually struggle, don't want to get crazy and don't want to consult a doctor for that.
In addition my friend created the MY PICTURES section so you can see a wider sample of the copyright protected pictures he takes, in the form of a sliding gallery.
You will probably recognize part of those pictures (if you have already visited the blog) but you will also find new ones. Some of those pictures will perhaps become a puzzle one day, while others won't (he still hasn't told me why).
You are welcome to grab a cup of tea, sit down and comment any post on the blog, and you can contact my friend here if you have any question. I think he can really help you if for example you are considering the idea of giving someone a personalized puzzle but you are not sure what to choose.
I am checking the mailbox, so don't worry I will phone him every time he doesn't reply quickly. Or I will reply (maybe that's better).
Please let us know if you come across typos or issues with the website. My friend is sometimes so concentrated in making puzzles that he forgets to take care of everything else. I am trying to keep an eye on things but you know, English is not my native language and obviously I don't have any IT background.
I would like to conclude by quoting a conversation I had with my friend few months ago.
I asked him: "Why do you want to do all this?"
He replied:" I spent the first part of my life ignoring my passion for personalized jigsaw puzzles, now I want to spend the second part embracing it".
We wish you a pleasant stay.
Mister Puzzle and his human friend