Working on a story about a jigsaw puzzle

By Dora A. Ayora Talavera | @DoraAyora

I have a hobby. During the last twenty years I have enjoyed working on jigsaw puzzles. The first one I bought was The Orana María by Paul Gauguin, one thousand pieces by the way the brand Nuova Arti Grafiche Ricordi (AGR)… is the best!

The size of their pieces, the careful and well managed cut, the quality of the impressions, the colours, the finishing touches, but specially the perfect gear assembling, it makes me think about the ballet concept, “timing” that refers to rhythm, velocity and pauses when a dancer moves or stops according to the music, giving to the performance a sense of action and drama.

When you are working on a jigsaw puzzle, the most extraordinary pleasure is when the anxiously looking piece fits in perfectly, making that joyful “timing” come true.

My hobby is not only to work on them; it is to collect them too. When I finish one I leave it in exposure for a while on the table; dusting and watching it time to time. At the end of the day, I disassemble it and I store it again. As time goes and I am craving I work on it again. Five years ago I decided working on all of them I make a plane pile of jigsaw puzzles, but now they are stacked on their boxes.

I like the pieces that form famous paintings; I do not like landscapes, animals, bridges or that kind of jigsaw puzzles that are made from very small figures creating a bigger and a different one. I have pass hours and days working on Gauguin y Van Gogh, Matisse, Remedios Varo, Picasso, Dalí, Kandisky, Rousseau, Velázquez, Da Vinci, Veronese, Degas y Klimt’s works.

Though, I was sophisticating my acquisitions. At the very beginning I bought them on toy shops, but in latest times I have the joy to buy them on museums and specialised stores. In that way I have singular souvenirs from “The National Gallery” and “The Natural History Museum” of London, from “Ashmolean Museum” of Oxford, from “Magritte Museum” in Brussels, from “Museo Nacional del Prado” in Madrid, from “Louvre” in Paris, among others.

Evidently I have my favourites! I just want to write about two of them that curiously are not famous paintings. One of them I found on the Ashmolean, Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford. The image is a reproduction of Powhatan’s mantle, originally made from deerskin with shell decoration. One particularity of this jigsaw is that its pieces are made from wood, three millimetres of thickness, and they do not have the “traditional” forms, as you can find two pieces that make a “framework” you can find a brush or a completely irregular form. Though it has only 250 pieces, it is a work of art that you can truly enjoying work on it…and smelling it.

The second is a gift. It is not a work of art. According to the box it is the world´s most difficult jigsaw puzzle. Someone challenged me and I accepted. It has 529 pieces, but given its difficulty it is equivalent to a 4000 pieces. What does it consist of? It is a small square 38 cm by 38 cm, the image is “scattered paperclips”, what is the most interesting thing is that is double sided, I mean the same image is on both sides but one of them is turned 90° relative to the other. All the pieces, except the frame, are exactly the same size and shape. You do not have any clue about which side is which, because the way the pieces were cut, no edge is bent. The box advices you about the confusing instructions and recommends, to just work on it! I have finished it three times.

No table is enough for my hobby. The surfaces are not enough. My biggest jigsaw puzzle has 1500 pieces; I would like having a 5000 pieces one.

If one day you want to make me happy, give me a puzzle… or a table.

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