...to make beautiful and challenging
puzzles that will delight their owners for
years to come...
One of my earliest memories, when I was not much taller than a card table,
is of helping my Grandmother and big brother
put together jigsaw puzzles. They would coach me to try this piece in a particular spot,
and of course, when I fiddled with it and rotated it just right, it magically fit and
everyone cheered. I was soon doing them either with other family members or by
myself and continued to do
them as I grew up and as my own children grew
However, I had never really known the truly
wonderful hand-cut puzzles that were made in the 30's
40's and 50's. Mine were mostly the regular
cardboard puzzles with knobs or holes on four
sides, or the thick, squiggly-shaped TUCO's. In the late nineties, while checking the internet, I
suddenly thought someone probably was selling old puzzles like the kind I had first done
with my grandmother. Those had been inadvertantly left behind in a move when I was a child.
Sure enough, there were lots of TUCOs, Big Ten, Perfect Picture and more.
I also started seeing wooden puzzles
and even bought a few.
Thus began my wooden jigsaw puzzle collection.
But, being an
engineer at heart, I wanted to create some of
In October of 1999 I bought a saw and began cutting puzzles. My
first puzzle was a modest 5x7 with about
100 pieces. There were no figurals, the edges
of the puzzles were as straight as I could get
them, and since I hadn't really studied cutting
styles, it was mostly free form. I was just happy I
hadn't cut any of the knobs off or made any
other typical beginner errors.
By Christmas time, I was
putting in figural pieces and experimenting with different cutting styles, creative edges,
and all the other
features the top cutters put into their
puzzles. My son's Christmas present was a 500+
piece puzzle with irregular-edged, bellowing clouds at the top
and a large multi-piece fire-breathing dragon figural hidden in the
In Spring of 2000 I joined the American Game and Puzzle
Collectors Association, and displayed my
puzzles at their annunal conference in May. My
puzzles received critical acclaim from the
puzzle enthusiasts present. I opened this site
in July of 2000 and featured my first puzzle on ebay.
Nine years later, there are well over 600 hand-cut Jardin Puzzles in homes and offices worldwide.
At some point, (I keep telling myself) I will update the site to show more of them off. You can
see some on the gallery artists pages or on Melinda's List page.
You may wonder how I chose the Jardin Puzzles name. I grew up
in Vermont, where the short winter days and
long winter nights are great for jigsaw
puzzles. It was also great for gardening in the
summer. I love iris and picked a stylized iris
as my signature piece. For those of you who
know French, "jardin" means "garden" and
continues the theme.
If you look in the
gallery, you will find quite a few images of flowers, including a very difficult Iris puzzle.
Aside from puzzles and gardening, I studied
mathematics and computer science and spent most
of my early career developing computer graphics
software. This was really just more puzzles
with pictures. By the time our two children
were grown, I was managementing a large engineering department and
had no time for jigsaw puzzles. The hiatus
from puzzles was good, for when I retired, and went back to them, it
was with renewed enthusiasm. I have been making puzzles
full time for almost nine years. Now I cut either here in Massachusetts
for much of the year, or up in Nova Scotia where we have
a summer home. Visitors are welcome to drop by either place for a demonstration or to just talk puzzles.
And wherever I am, email reaches me.
I will continue to update this site with new
puzzles, new artwork and maybe more history and
puzzle-craft. So stay tuned and happy puzzling.