By Darla McCammon
In the last two weeks, I have taken you to the island of Kauai to occupy your time and escape this dreary January weather. This week, we’re going to talk about something else that people use to occupy their time in the often gloomy winter weather: jigsaw puzzles.
Jigsaw puzzles were first created in 1760. In fact, John Spilsbury from Britain, who was a mapmaker and engraver, initiated this popular pastime when he mounted one of his maps, depicting a collection of countries on a thin wood sheet. Once the map was affixed, he took a sharp saw (later called a jigsaw, thus the name for the puzzle) and precisely cut out the outline of each country. The original idea was to create these puzzle maps to encourage the royal children to memorize their geography lesson at the same time they played with an enjoyable toy puzzle. All this happened shortly before the American Revolution took place in 1776.
Since Spilsbury began the jigsaw puzzle craze, it has expanded many ways and is still very popular today. In fact, more people choose jigsaw puzzles for their entertainment than any other table game in the United States.
Originally most puzzles were made of wood; however, most puzzles today come to us in colorful cardboard boxes, with the interlocking pieces mounted on cardboard rather than wood. Today we can view the cover of the box to see what we are creating but originally the cover was blank and one had to make a good guess. We are exposed to great art in many of the puzzles offered for sale today. Many people would never get to a museum to see a beautiful Monet water lily pond painting, for example, but with a jigsaw puzzle representing his work, we can carry it home in a box and assemble it piece by piece and watch it magically appears before our eyes. If we like it well enough, we can even mount it and frame it for a wall.
My family loves the fact that in winter, I almost always have a jigsaw puzzle, usually one with 1,000 pieces, spread on a glass-top table. Visitors and family alike can spend a little time studying and matching pieces together until we have the whole puzzle assembled. For a 1,000 piece puzzle, you will need four times as much time to put it together than it will take you to complete one with 500 pieces.
Upcoming and Current Events:
- The LAA Gallery will be closed for winter break. There will be a notification when it re-opens.
- An exhibit by Susan Ring is open at the Warsaw City Hall art gallery. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- If interested in exhibiting at the City Hall art gallery, e-mail a short biography and photos of two artworks, along with contact information, to [email protected] or leave a message at (574) 527-4044.