Did you know the first jigsaw puzzle was created in 1762? It was made by a map engraver named John Spilsbury. He mounted one of his maps onto wood and cut according to the countries to help children learn geography. It was an instant hit and gained popularity as an inexpensive and long-lasting form of entertainment.
Fast forward to modern day and it’s as popular as ever – in fact, it was reported that there was an increase in demand for jigsaw puzzles during the Covid-19 pandemic. I would know, as I was one of those people who thought it was a great idea to put together a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle during the last lockdown.
While I was researching for jigsaw puzzles, I came across some pretty cool ones that I thought I should share. Here are 6 places to find unique contemporary jigsaw puzzles if you are looking for something new to fill up your time.
Proudly made in Malaysia, re:piece features local independent female artists by turning their artwork into jigsaw puzzles. Currently, they have 3 jigsaw puzzles in their first collection – each one as magical and as whimsical as the next. Each jigsaw puzzle also comes with a personal story from the artist themselves on the inspiration and thought process behind the artwork. After you’re done, just frame your puzzle up to make it a unique decoration/artwork for your space. They make great gifts as well. Unfortunately, I’m still working on my 1000 pieces Winnie The Pooh jigsaw puzzle but I’m definitely adding the puzzles from re:piece to my jigsaw puzzle list!
Another online store to find beautiful jigsaw puzzles is Aurva where they sell cultural puzzles that are inspired from India. Aurva, meaning that which relates to the earth is the founder’s wish to share India’s cultural richness and diversity to a worldwide audience. You can find jigsaw puzzles made of South Indian festivals, lifestyle, heritage, craft, and cultural scenes. The jigsaw puzzles are not just for entertainment or hobby, but they are also meaningful and a wonderful way to introduce the Indian culture to your children or friends. Of course, they ship internationally to Malaysia and there’s a promotion going on (at the time of the writing) offering a 50% discount on the second puzzle!
Exclusive to the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM), five designs can be found within this collection of jigsaw puzzles. Own a piece of history when you purchase any of these beautiful 80 pieces jigsaw puzzle set. Inspired by IAMM’s collection of original paintings and one of it by 16th century Ottoman carpet, these are jigsaw puzzles that you would be proud to own. Even better, you can collect all five designs that you can display once they’re put together! An 80-piece puzzle should be quite simple to do and makes for a great family activity with children.
Speaking of activities that you can do with kids, here are other DIY activities that you can do with your kids in their free time.
4. Pieces Store
Founded by a puzzle lover who felt that there were not many options when it came to quality puzzle brands in Malaysia, they aim to introduce puzzle brands from other countries such as China, Taiwan, and Germany. All the puzzles on their social media pages are authentic and available for sale, you just have to DM them to pre-order the jigsaw puzzle that caught your eye. Do take note that it would take at least 3-4 weeks before it reaches your door. You can find a lot of interesting and unique jigsaw puzzles that come in all shapes and sizes. If you are looking for something other than the usual sceneries and cartoon jigsaw puzzles, this is the place to be!
5. Jue Home
Jue Home was founded in 2020 as a result of a desire to build something that nourishes the spirit, challenges the intellect, and fulfils our collective need to answer life’s problems. You will find high-quality wood puzzles that merge technology, art, and nature at Jue Home. Above all, they are meant to be heirloom puzzles, something you can pass down from generation to generation. They also aim to be eco-conscious; hence the puzzles are made from wood and cardstock prints. They even come packaged in a wooden or paper-based box with a reusable linen/net drawstring bag that you can places the pieces of puzzle in. Another distinctive feature of the jigsaw puzzles from Jue Home is the puzzle pieces themselves – they do not look like the usual puzzle pieces you know!
If you are looking for jigsaw puzzles, the next best place to go is the bookshop! Books Actually is an online independent bookstore that is based in Singapore. Other than carrying books, you can also find jigsaw puzzles on their online store. Although there are not as many options available, the jigsaw puzzles that they carry are quite interesting. If you love Andy Warhol or Yayoi Kusama, you can find jigsaw puzzles that were inspired by their work. An amusing jigsaw puzzle that caught my eye was this 299 Cats and A Dog puzzle where the pieces are made up of cats and apparently one dog. Books Actually ship worldwide, so you don’t have to worry that you can’t get your hands on these puzzles.
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