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ABOUT THE ARTIST

Thom Spencer lives in  Coming soon, MD in Frederick, MD.

I grew up in southeastern Virginia as the son of an artistic mother. All of her art was either drawing or painting and I seemed to have inherited neither. One significant thing I remember about her art was that she constantly tried different methods of creating a picture, melting crayons between 2 pieces of paper and finding something miraculous from that mess of blended crayons. In her footsteps I follow.

When I was a young child, we would take summer vacation trips to western North Carolina. My uncle had an old cabin that had been a logging cabin at one time. There was fresh running water, but no electricity so during the nights we had to use kerosene lanterns. It was here that I first remember doing large jigsaw puzzles. That has been a fond memory all of my life.

In the year 2000, I started using an old craftsman scroll saw and I started making jigsaw puzzles using one inch thick pine boards as my medium. These early puzzles were mainly polygonal since interlocking pieces never seemed to fit properly and my lines were never straight.

As with most things in life, a couple of years of practice led to improvement. Of course a new scroll saw also helped. I learned that I should be using 1/4 inch wood or plywood but also I learned to cut nice artistic puzzles with 3/8 inch plywood. With the 3/8 inch ply I can embellish the edges to make a more interesting puzzle. I prefer staining or painting the puzzle pieces instead applying a picture or photograph to the wood and cutting a puzzle. It seems that nearly every month I find some new method, my mother’s gift to me.

Some of my puzzles are just “pretty” but not very difficult, but some blend both qualities. Some are just plain “hard”. My largest puzzle to date piece-wise is 342 pieces and it is very difficult. My largest size-wise is a ¼ moon shaped puzzle that has 6 smaller puzzles inside the main puzzle. Recently, I've been making pieces that are magnetic and can be placed on any steel surface, like a refrigerator.

Many of my puzzles are self contained, in other words they are made to be solved in their own carrier. These puzzles are made for the coffee table as art for conversation piece or distraction. I hope you will visually enjoy your puzzle and you and your friends will solve it many times over. My puzzles can be given as unusual gifts or unique gifts. Thom Spencer .


ABOUT THE PUZZLES

The puzzles are designed by penciling draft thoughts on the wood, frequently from doodles created when sitting in front of the computer. Each puzzle is hand sanded, hand cut with a scroll saw, and sometimes each piece is handled as many as ten times. Almost all of the puzzle pieces are cut freehand and not following any pre-drawn lines. The finishes are mainly acrylic paints or water-based stains.

The result is a puzzle (frequently very challenging) that is also a visual piece of art that can be placed on your coffee table. Your guests will be delighted and challenged. Since each puzzle is cut by hand (scroll saw) no 2 puzzles will be identical. The originality of combining artistic designs with the jigsaw puzzle appealed to me. Each puzzle I create is unique. They are treated with a lot of care throughout the process. Sometimes strong magnets are applied to the backs of puzzles so they can be displayed in an upright position. I have created canvas covered sheet metal in frames just to hang puzzles on the wall. Imagine displaying a piece of art that is also a puzzle on your wall. Most are Unique and unusual.

Since many pieces can be small and others may have strong magnets, I DO NOT recommend most of my puzzles for children under 4. Unique, unusual.