Exhibit at Bates College

Cherry Pectoral Puzzle

Cherry Pectoral Puzzle

Going back to the late 80s, I had a way of making a good wooden puzzle at a fraction of the cost of a handmade one. I thought customers would beat their way to my door.  HA! Not so. My mother and aunt filched the membership lists of their clubs; I made my first catalogs and mailed them out. No member came to stroke my backside with his mashie but no one showed any interest either.

I decided to try to make puzzles from images silkscreened onto the wood. The image was an advertisement of Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral from about 1880. I had 40 images made but many were a little out of registration. I cut the best ones and gave most to family and friends. One I gave to Anne Williams.

Anne D. Williams is someone to whom we puzzlers are all indebted. Anne cuts puzzles and collects them. She also researches and writes about them. She has helped countless of us who cut for love and/or profit. In 1989 she put on an exhibit at Bates College. I put in the Cherry Pectoral puzzle and also a bigger puzzle with oversized pieces which could be put together by the public by day – and taken apart by night. Yankee Magazine saw the show and profiled me. That started my mailing list.

Gracie Puzzle – best results with digital photo post-processing

Gracie, West Highland Terrier

Gracie, West Highland Terrier

About a month ago, we went to Pasco, Washington to pick up our new puppy, Gracie, a West Highland Terrier. Pat did the research and found the best breeder in the country, Chris Larson.  It didn’t matter that Pasco was in the middle of the state, vineyard country, three airplanes away from Marblehead.

Now Gracie has taken over our household. I think the older dogs look on her as we would an adolescent Lady MacBeth. Of course in our house, her royal puppyhood had to be commemorated with a puzzle.

I picked the best of many pictures, taken at a rare moment.  I “tweaked” the picture on my computer.  Her coat is so white that I had to reduce the highlights a bit and also set the overall color balance since the picture was lit both by bounce flash and the kitchen incandescent lights.

I write this because post processing an image on the computer is becoming an important step to ensure that it is the best it can be for the puzzle.  I will write more about this in future blogs.   You can see the final result above.