One of the nice things about puzzles is that they run you into some really interesting and nice people, so we thought it was time to start doing a little "Name Dropping". We've found that other puzzle makers and designers can be a very friendly and helpful group to check in with from time to time even though we're not geographic neighbors. One that we've just met (online) who has some beautiful brass puzzles is Rocky Chiaro in Pueblo, CO http://brasspuzzlesbyrocky.com .
Even further from where we live are Karen and Robin Washbourne of Puzzling Puzzles in Queensland, Australia, with whom we spent a delightful day some years back re-discovering that distances don't mean that we can't have a lot in common. They (Karen and Robin) make some dandy puzzles. A classic one that we get asked about alot are the two interlocked nails. Robin and Karen like them so much that they've improved on the theme. How's about three interlocked nails?! ...or four?! www.puzzlingpuzzles.com.au
Closer to home, the Bay Area has a lot of puzzle people with whom we haven't been keeping up with as well as we would like. Wei Zhang and her husband, Peter Rasmussen are two of them. Wei is a particularly good reference for math teachers who want to use puzzles in class in a systematic, fun way. Her book "Exploring Math Through Puzzles", by PQ Innovations is a book that we recommend to many teachers. Wei and Peter now have a new, beautifully done, very informative website, http://chinesepuzzles.org. They have a knack for respectfully introducing one to the significant wonder and fun of puzzles. They also introduced us to our favorite definition for puzzles: "Problem solving for fun"
Recently, "Out of the Blue", we got a letter from Larry Elliott of Madison, WI whose paintings attract some well known art collectors (Queen Elizabeth and Tony Bennett, for example). They have also been chosen by a couple of jigsaw puzzle makers who cater to both low-end and high-end puzzlers. Larry was writing to ask that we take a look at his work to see if we would give them a nod here on our website. We were flattered to be asked. When we looked at a U Tube video of Larry introducing his work, it was clear that his route to puzzles was something we wanted to celebrate because it made us think of our own paths to puzzles. The results of his 'getting to puzzles' can be found at www.thingamajigsaw.com/traditional.html#elliott or www.piecetimepuzzles.com/store?page=shop.browse&category_id=33 People can perhaps easily 'see' a relationship between mathematics and puzzles. Puzzle designer and math educator Scott Kim, of Half Moon Bay, CA, certainly does. But then he takes it another step and dances mathematics! (He does so beautifully, by the way.) So what's so far fetched about thinking that a professional pianist and piano teacher, like Larry, who's also a fine painter can wind up contributing to Puzzle Land. There are a lot of us that got "in" with a variety of interesting 'credentials'. And they all make sense! Welcome!