Gorgeous, difficult, exquisite whimseys, tricky, fun, full of surprises, irregular edge, in a nutshell- review.
However, there is so much more that I would like to say about this amazing , wonderful puzzle!
I am a great fan of both Artifact and Ecru puzzles, since my husband first gave me two for Christmas over a decade ago. Each holiday I am delighted to receive them as gifts on Mother’s Day, my birthday, Christmas, whenever… I share them with family and friends. They have been a Godsend under “Shelter in Place” as I rotate through my collection…
One of my favorite puzzles is Erin Hanson’s “Crystal Grove” which is also quite challenging, but lovely. I greatly appreciate her work and enjoyed her “Layers of Afternoon” for Mother’s Day… But when I first saw “Hues of Zion,” I fell in love with the image and tried to exercise patience for it to be produced.
I have been to Zion many times and actually hoped to visit Zion this year en route to pick up my son from Colorado after his graduation from Colorado School of Mines. We had hoped to visit Bryce Canyon, as well, two of the loveliest parks in Utah, reknown for their rock formations and spectacular colors. Sadly, we couldn’t legally take off on a road trip; the graduation ceremony was virtual, and who knows when we will be able to get to Utah or Colorado. Patience. A great virtue, one that I have been working at, but not too successfully. The instant that “Hues of Zion” became available, I was on it.
Life is demanding, though, and the package remained unopened for an entire evening, until yesterday, when I had scheduled a Skype call with my mother, who is sadly in isolation in Memory Care in Utah. Mom has lost her short term memory completely; she cannot remember my name, but she knows that I am her daughter, and she was delighted to see me. I told her that the most exciting thing to happen this week was that my new puzzle arrived and I opened it where she could see it and showed her the image on the box. She agreed it was gorgeous. I asked her helper to get out a puzzle for her and to play her music box, reminding her of our times together. Mom happily started working on her puzzle sharing her pieces with me, while I happily went through every single piece of “Hues of Zion” sharing with her the delightful whimsey pieces- a scorpion, a backpacker, a fox… and two mountain lions! I reminded her of the hike we went on when we came face to face with a mountain lion
. I didn’t, however, have an opportunity to actually assemble the puzzle, though, since I was at my work station with a keyboard and no table space. Still, I got a very good look at the new puzzle and noticed that the flip side, also had unusual marks, sort of like the brand on the side of the box.
It wasn’t until after dinner, after the evening stroll, after the family game, with the two adult sons who are sheltering with us, that I actually had the table space and opportunity to “begin” the puzzle. I think it would have been much easier had I begun during the day time with good lighting. The colors and brush strokes are amazing, but the cut is very tricky. Some pieces are extremely obvious and unique, but many of them have very similar shapes and it is possible for them to fit perfectly together, even if they are “wrong.” I did make a couple of mistakes which I didn’t discover until the light of day this morning. I did stay up way past my normal bedtime and rose at 6:30 am, lured by the unfinished puzzle. I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t resist it; I did get some “help” from the family. I know that I will want to do it again, and again. It is a good sized puzzle, despite the relatively small number of pieces. The colors are so vivid, complex and compelling, that I doubt if I would ever try to do it “upside down,” but like many Artifact Puzzles, the design itself is a work of art and there is a lovely design on the flip side of the puzzle. I flipped it, to see the image, but one could also think of it as a double sided puzzle and assemble the whole puzzle with the natural wood and a lovely branded pattern facing up. Your choice! I am delighted with the puzzle and looking forward to doing it again and again , and sharing it. I am so glad that Artifact is still able to produce puzzles, despite the arduous restrictions placed upon all of us at this moment in time.