Creative Wonders: Jigsaw Puzzles as Art Training

Topics: creativity
Beginning the puzzle

I only let myself do jigsaw puzzles on occasion and in the winter because once I start them I cannot do anything else. I find it difficult to make dinner, read a book, talk to my family or even sleep because I so want to find that next piece. The puzzle virtually consumes me.

But after my son left for college again over the Thanksgiving break, I decided that obsessing over a puzzle would be better than wallowing in the sad of his absence and of missing my mom.

I carefully chose a 750-piece cat puzzle titled “Maggie the Messmaker” that I could put together in a day or two to keep my madness to a minimum. As always, I started by sorting those pieces onto cookie trays, looking for patterns in the colors, staring at the picture, and pulling out the edge pieces. (Yes, I know some people scorn the use of the picture. My family never did.)

Second phase of the puzzle


As I began putting it together and got that little zing of triumph every time I found a piece, I kept thinking something felt familiar.

Only a few hours in did I realize that looking at the patterns, studying the lines of the picture, and searching for the ways the world of the puzzle fits together, felt just like the sketch work I’ve done over the past few months. For the puzzle, of course, I’m scanning for pieces and in the sketch, I’m making the pieces with lines. But the experience is so similar that I sat back a moment to ponder how my life moves in spirals with one experience building on another. (Not really. I kept searching for the sewing machine pieces while I pondered.)

Puzzle almost finishedThen I just obsessed until I had that puzzle done. After 749 pieces, Quinton helped me find that last one that was hard to see.

puzzle done

Wishing you a delightful and consuming diversion with art and puzzles to help with the dark months,





About the author: Karrie Zylstra Myton is a blogger, essayist, and aspiring author who writes for the wild joy it brings on the best days and the hard lessons she learns about life on the worst. After crafting stories in the ridiculously early morning hours, she chases her two sons, cuddles with cats, and laughs with her husband about how crazy life can get in middle age.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Beth Richardson November 30, 2018, 6:20 AM

    I am a puzzle lover, too. Thanks for the reflection. Love to you this day.

    • Karrie Zylstra November 30, 2018, 8:08 AM

      Thank you, my friend. 💚

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