Puzzle 821 - New Orleans Umbrella Girl

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Puzzle #821 - New Orleans Umbrella Girl
Limited edition of one

Note: For New Orleans Banksy enthusiasts like myself, I later created a comprehensive webpage documenting all of the works

As it happened (from my Journal archives)

December 26, 2008

Friday 6:43 pm - A couple days ago I spilled water on my keyboard causing permanent damage, keeping me off my computer and delaying some printing. I purchase a new, better keyboard today.

The print for The World still hasn't arrived, so I've pushed this puzzle back. All of the figurals and other special pieces have been designed and placed and I've prepared the board.

Today I was going to print and mount the January and February eBay puzzles. However I found that for some reason or other my large printer no longer will print on sheets, only roll paper and as I could not solve the problem, I was only able to print the January image. This image is now mounted and tomorrow I still cutting. I've ordered roll paper in the type that I use plus some experimental paper. The January eBay puzzle, New Orleans Rain Girl, will be a picture of some graffiti art shot by a contact in New Orleans - the graffiti artist is well known but officially anonymous. I'll have more information when I launch the auction in early January.

December 27, 2008

Saturday 5:30 pm - Yet another puzzle making disaster. I recently got some new inks for my Epson 7600. Genuine Epson, and the print I made for New Orleans Rain Girl looked good when I printed the other day. Today I was well into the puzzle and noticed my fingers were getting dirty. Turns out the Black which is the only color I've replaced so far was rubbing off. This has never happened before. So when I got home I looked at all the loaded cartridges. They were all genuine Epson, but the new one was made in China with different outer appearance, all of the older ones were made in Japan. I had purchased all of them at my regular supplier. In the future, I'll just have to spray an acrylic coating before I start cutting, something I was trying to avoid. I was about 1/2 the way done, cutting was going very well and by changing the blades very frequently I didn't even have any micro chipouts on the back of the Appleply. The afternoon is shot, I've abandoned the puzzle and will start over.

I'm about to reprint New Orleans Rain Girl; tomorrow I'll go to the shop and prepare a new board, then mount the print and later in the day apply an acrylic coating. I'll start cutting it Monday and complete it on Tuesday. The January auction, featuring New Orleans Rain Girl will start on Friday. Still waiting for The World print.

December 29, 2008

Monday 9:13 pm - I started the recutting of #821, New Orleans Rain Girl today. Cutting is going very well - the application of a fixative and acrylic spray worked well, no problems at all! I did about 170 pieces of the projected 300. In the failed attempt I said I was about 1/2 done, actually I was closer just 60 pieces or so into the puzzle plus the figurals. Comparing the "re-do" with the original attempt I was surprised at just how bad the smudging was in the original attempt.... the failed version will join my "wall of horrors" in my shop.

December 30, 2008

Tuesday 7:37 pm - Today I competed #821, New Orleans Rain Girl, with about 300 pieces, final piece count to be posted by Friday's auction. I think the problem with the black ink that I had on the first attempt with this puzzle was likely due to the switch over to Ilford paper rather than anything specific with the ink. The first two puzzles I made using Ilford paper had very little to no black in their prints. The fixative / acrylic spray combo worked very well. I'm very pleased with the quality of the puzzle, the paper cut well, with none of the "white tips" that have shown up in dark areas of matte paper puzzles that have been my mainstay. The Appleply wood cut without any problems - none of the chipouts that have occasionally appeared in my Finland Birch puzzles. I'll have a picture or two tomorrow, as the the puzzle is still at the shop - I decided to put a layer of tung oil on the back to highlight the Appleply grain. I have decided that this puzzle will be a limited edition of one.

December 31, 2008

Wednesday 4:33 pm - Today I spent several hours doing a major reorganization of my puzzle shop, even moved the large Excalibur scroll saw, first major reorg in at least several years. I now have a lot more room around my table saw, considerably increasing the safety of operating this dangerous tool. Will have some pictures, eventually.

Meanwhile, I have posted a picture of puzzle #821, New Orleans Umbrella Girl (renamed from New Orleans Rain Girl) and the figural set, on the Home page. I'm posting the pictures here too, for the record. I'll have more to say about this puzzle on Friday when I launch the auction. I'll have my annual year end summary and guidance for the future of Custom Puzzle Craft, here either tomorrow or Friday.

Happy New Year everybody! And thanks to all who have ordered puzzles and have placed bids on the puzzles I've auctioned.

Puzzle #821 figural set
I think the spray can with the Banksy B spray coming out is very cool!

January 3, 2009

Saturday 7:23 pm - Auction launched!

From the auction description:

This month's puzzle features a photo of urban graffiti art in New Orleans painted by "Banksy", a name used by a secretive urban graphic artist from England. Google "Banksy" and "Grey Ghost" to get some background on the reasons why "Banksy" traveled to New Orleans to create the series of works that he did in late August of 2008. Some of his works were commentary on Hurricane Katrina and the socioeconomic / political / environmental effects. Of the more than a dozen works created, some have now been destroyed / painted over. In early September I became aware of the works, and having contacts in New Orleans I requested that pictures be taken of one image I particularly liked, now popularly known as the "Umbrella Girl". Coincidentally, another version the work was later published by "Banksy" as a limited series print titled "Banksy NOLA" (NOLA being New Orleans, LA) and have gone on eBay for more than $2000 each.

The image used for this puzzle was taken on September 9, 2008 at my request, within two weeks of the creation of the work. The work has since been covered with Plexiglas and is more difficult to photograph due to reflection.

This wooden jigsaw puzzle is a limited edition of ONE, no further puzzles of any kind will be made from this image. I do have a close-up of the work and may elect to make a puzzle from that image some day if this puzzle goes well, and that puzzle would also be a limited edition of ONE, no further puzzles would be made by me of this subject. Furthermore, no other "Banksy" image puzzles will be made by me unless perhaps commissioned by "Banksy".

This puzzle was cut in my Swirl Curl cutting style with small pieces, exactly 300, and includes my standard signature piece (signed, dated and numbered on the back) and a second piece (the spray can figural) marked on the back indicating the puzzle belongs to the 100 Puzzles Project.

The puzzle has seven figurals. Rats have frequently appeared in "Banksy" works and one showed up here. There is a "stalking cat" figural, going from left to right and a "laughing rat" figural behind the cat. Also are three "hurricane symbols" of varying size in homage to hurricanes of varying intensity that have struck the city. Finally there is a "can of spray paint" figural and a "spray cloud with letter B" figural appropriately placed together. "B" is obviously for "Banksy". Figurals are like graffiti, a way for a puzzle maker to add commentary to a scene with specially shaped puzzle pieces!

I have recently changed the wood I use for my puzzles, at least temporarily. 80 of the 84 puzzles I've auction so far have been cut using Finland Birch, most of the them 4ply and a few 5ply, and four have been Mahogany with a Poplar interior. This puzzle was cut using Appleply, which, despite the name, has Maple veneers on the front and back and a 3ply Birch interior, for 5ply in all. The wood cuts well and sands to a super smooth finish. I applied a layer of tung oil to the back after the puzzle was cut and sanded. I found out about Appleply from Ron Moore of Turtleteasers Puzzles.

Box of 300 pieces

One thing I like about the image, is the expression on the Umbrella Girl's face. She is experiencing being rained on while holding an umbrella and extending her hand to the dryness beyond. She has a complex expression of innocence, maybe a little pouty, and perhaps wonderment.

In the picture, below, to the left is a close up of a portion of the painting in New Orleans (much better resolution than the puzzle's image) and on the right side, the best picture I have been able to obtain so far, of the corresponding area in the Banksy NOLA limited edition print. The print's image is a lot more "pouty" and the innocent look is lost. I prefer the image in the painting! Also know that in the painting some of the rain streaks go in front of the girl as would be expected, while in the print, all behind.

New Orleans Umbrella Girl compared with Banksy NOLA

New Orleans Umbrella Girl
Date Completed
December 30, 2008
13 x 7 11/16
Cutting Style
# Pieces
Color Line Cutting
3 Hurricane symbols, Laughing Rat, Stalking Cat, Spray Can, Spray Cloud with "B" for Banksy

© John S. Stokes III - Puzzle Crafter & Webmaster

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