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Putting the pieces together: Calgary puzzlemaker selects trio of local artists' images for unique, interactive presentation

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A trio of Calgary artists have had their works turned into puzzle pieces.

The three paintings are of colourful mountain vistas and Jasen Robillard, owner and lead designer at StumpCraft, chose them because he saw something in them he thought would make for interesting puzzles.

"We design puzzles that are made out of wood," he said.

"Our focus is on Canadian fine art and I design a puzzle that matches the theme of the art and the artist."

Once Robillard chooses a painting and connects with the artist, he takes a picture of the work and has it printed onto a piece of wood.

He uses a computer to custom-make a puzzle design.

"So each piece of art gets its own dedicated pattern that either myself or (co-designer) Siri Olson has designed," said Robillard.

"Each one of those are hand-drawn lines and then the laser will trace those lines one by one by one until the whole pattern is cut."

Robillard says the trademark of each finished puzzle is to include a cut-out of a maple leaf and a beaver.

He also includes something he calls a "whim-wham" -- a few pieces from the main puzzle will fit together to create another image.

"With this series, I really wanted to embed a scene in the art so the puzzles for these three have a vignette of each piece of art within the puzzle, so a puzzle within the puzzle," said Robillard.

StumpCraft has been in operation since 2017 and sells puzzles all over the world.

Robillard says the pieces are priced similarly to what it would typically cost for a reproduced piece of art.

"I've always been fascinated with games and so this is a style of game where you have to figure out the rules," he said.

"It's a game without a rulebook. You have to piece it together yourself, so I think that's where that love of puzzles comes from."

Robillard chose a painting from Alison Philpotts titled "Larch Valley" that's located in the mountain parks west of Calgary.

Philpotts says this is the first time she's had her work turned into a puzzle.

"I've never done anything like this. I don't really sell t-shirts or pillows but a puzzle, now it makes sense for sure," she said.

"Even when we were here, seeing the puzzle for the first time, a woman came in and now she's coming to our booth at the Stampede (Western Oasis) to look at paintings, so really exciting."

Ruolin Shi's painting is of Emerald Lake in B.C. and the Calgary artist is having fun building her puzzle.

"My toddler has been trying to piece it together. She hasn't broken it yet, which is great," said Shi.

"I'm really excited about it. I love playing with puzzles and it's just really cool to be able to have that interaction with my own artwork."

Cecile Albi is the third Calgary artist featured and her piece is called "This Is It."

She says collaborating with StumpCraft could see her work reaching a whole new demographic.

"It's really fascinating. I've always loved puzzles and the fact that I have my own puzzle now is pretty special, I think," she said.

You can learn more about StumpCraft at www.StumpCraft.com.

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