The irony is it all started with a ginger cat. You know how something brews away at the back of your mind and then all of a sudden motivation strikes and good things happen? Well, one day, in a bookshop in Aldeburgh, a thought struck me.
I saw a wooden jigsaw in a window. It was from Orlando, the Marmalade cat by Kathleen Hale. And I thought. I could do that I thought.
So, I looked on the web and checked out the manufacturer and I sent an email. Wentworth’s Wooden Puzzles. Five weeks later I took delivery of beautiful jigsaws, made in the UK, to sell at Art in Action next week.
Beautiful wooden jigsaws that I have been playing with with friends over a few weeks.
The jigsaws compliment the books, from the tiny 40 piece ones, that take about 30 minutes to do unless you are a jigsaw wizz, to the very expensive limited edition 1 500 piece jigsaws ( price on application: email me). The larger jigsaws, from 250 upwards, come in a cloth bag, lovely box, all sourced in the UK. And the jigsaws have wonderful Wentworth Whimsies.
I gave one to Karin, Mother of Mary as a late birthday present and she and Emily (Mary’s sister) did it together. She said it was wonderful to just stop rushing around and focus on building a picture. She sent me photographs of their progress.
My hope is that people will buy them, for themselves, as presents, for teachers when they leave school, to say thank you, just to say I love you, to make together, to take to supper parties, to thank staff for wonderful work, for all kinds of occasions.
There are many people I know who have a secret passion for jigsaws. Robin Hobb for one. It’s an unusual and innovative way to promote books, indie bookshops and also to get more space in bookshops for my books.
So, here are some of the jigsaws. My hope is that independent bookshops will take them up and run with them. My sister wants to buy the small ones to give as gifts when she goes out for supper. The larger ones are perfect for doing together as a family. A tiny jigsaw and a copy of the accompanying book make that perfect present. And there is a problem, because they are addictive. Once you have one you want more. Once you do the small ones a few times, you want the bigger ones. And the bigger ones take a good deal more time.
So far you can find them in:
Cover to Cover in Mumbles, Swansea
The Hedgehog Bookshop, Penrith
If you are an indie bookshop/gallery/giftshop and want to sell them contact Wentworth’s jigsaws, and when you get them in let me know and I will add you to the list.
I love my jigsaws and working with Wentworths is a pleasure. Now, I’m off to pick one to keep and do. Maybe see you at Art in Action next week?
At some point we are going to have a speed contest of who can do the Dragon Egg Hatchlings jigsaw the fastest. For now here are a couple of jigsaw films from Celestine and the Hare:
So, I decided to product test the jigsaws, step sideways from work, relax, unwind.
First I chose a jigsaw. Little Red, Reading to the wWolves. Originally painted for Kids Need to Read, they used it in their calendar and then made a wonderful print, still available to buy.
With a pile of pieces in front of me I turned the hour glass and settled down to peaceful picture building.
One hour later and I was finding things a bit tricky.
Another hour in and all the ‘easy bits’ were done. With Wentworths there is no such thing as an easy bit.
In this one all the whimsies are wolves, and I have had another idea. I want to draw the whimsie shapes too, to make them even more bespoke.
There is something masochistic in the pleasure to be gained from piecing together a difficult jigsaw. There is a sense of satisfaction in fitting a piece in. I am hoping to bring about a revival of the jigsaw, although I think Wentworths are ahead of me there. I want these jigsaws to be the new 50 Shades of Gray. They are, after all, very sexy.