Puzzle 922 - Celestial Dragon

By Custom Puzzle Craft

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Puzzle #922 - Celestial Dragon
The Fourth Annual Auction puzzle with 622 pieces
The fifth and last dragon image by K. Chin I have on file
I think there are three others in the world, where are they?

As it happened (from my Journal archives)

May 4, 2014

Sunday 10:55 PM - I've re-established contact with the owner of a K. Chin dragon painting in NYC. I'm hoping to have the painting photographed for use as this year's Annual Auction puzzle. The issue is getting a high quality photograph.

June 1, 2014

Sunday 6:31 PM - As for the Annual Auction puzzle (this will be the 4th annual puzzle), I've made contact with the owner of the K. Chin dragon puzzle in NYC and given him the go ahead to hire a professional photographer to take a picture of the painting for me.

June 10, 2014

Tuesday 4:30 PM - Meanwhile I received the print (edit: digital file) from NYC for the K. Chin Dragon print. The best I can say it is unacceptable. This project is now on hold until after the Puzzle Parley.

June 11, 2014

Wednesday 11:02 PM

I received a better digital image from NYC for the K. Chin Dragon print. I'm cautiously optimistic about the print, didn't have time today to examine it in detail. Will do so tomorrow.

July 16, 2014

Wednesday 2:09 PM - I've been working on the details for my part of the puzzle parley panel "How to sell puzzles in the Internet age", will have that completed today.

Meanwhile I've tentatively worked out a second photo shoot of the K. Chin dragon painting. This may occur on July 26. Because I'll be leaving shortly after that for the Puzzle Parley (leaving Thursday July 31 and returning Monday August 4) and then shortly afterwards for a full week (August 7 through August 14) for a tango festival in Utah plus visits to a couple National Parks (Zion & Bryce Canyon), I've pushed the Annual Auction Puzzle back to August. I will be setting up a new webpage soon dedicated to the Annual Puzzle Auctions (shell is at Annual Auction Puzzles)

Due to very special circumstances I've accepted a custom puzzle order for an anniversary puzzle. I plan to start making this puzzle within the next couple days and ship it before I leave for the puzzle parley. To keep it a surprise, there will be little that I can say about it here before it is given as a gift. This is the first order I've accepted since the one just before last Christmas and only the second since June of 2013.

July 28, 2014

Monday 7:24 PM - Yesterday I receive a new batch of K. Chin dragon painting photos from a second photographer. I will be reviewing these tomorrow.

July 30, 2014

Wednesday 10:22 AM - Yesterday and this morning I worked the set of new photos for the Dragon painting and have successfully knitted together four high resolution pictures to create an excellent picture of the painting. I could call this one "Imperial Silver Dragon #2" but upon talking with K. Chin's sons some time ago about K. Chin's dragon works, I have decided to call it Celestial Dragon. For copyright reasons per the owner of the painting, I'm keeping a higher resolution uncut image off this website. I expect to make and auction Puzzle #922, Celestial Dragon, towards the end of August. I've posted a tentative proposed piece count of 400 to the Queue, I will make a final decision as time approaches to make the puzzle.

Image for puzzle #922 - Celestial Dragon
Did a LOT of work to remove some paint damage in the lower right

August 14, 2014

Thursday 6:36 PM - I'm back from a fabulous trip to attend a small Argentine Tango festival at Wasatch Lodge at the Brighton, Utah ski resort followed by trips to the Fremont Indian State Park, Mystic Springs in Monroe Utah enjoying hot springs and a "Mystic Milonga", then trips to the spectacular Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park in the same day. Returned late yesterday.

I still have a lot of catching up to do. I plan to start work on Annual Auction Puzzle #4, Celestial Dragon, by early next week with a goal to have it completed and on eBay by around August 22, give or take a couple days. Then, finally, I'll get back to the Dragon Kite. I still need to string the 40 sections together and revisit the planned flying place to check out the winds at this time of the year.

I'll have some pictures from my adventure here within the next few days. Thanks to Ron Moore, I've corrected the name of the owner of Stave Puzzles in my August 6th entry. Steve Richardson, not Richards. And I also added the name of the maker of the acrylic puzzles, Antori Pancco. At the Puzzle Parley, Antori gave me an uncut board with an image of an owl embedded between two thin acrylic sheets, measuring about 8 5/16" by 6 1/2". At some point I'll see how it cuts although I won't be making an official puzzle from the board.

Tragically, the customer who ordered the special puzzle #921 died from an extended illness two days after I completed and shipped it, he never saw it. It will mean a whole lot to the intended recipient. It was for a special anniversary. I'll have more to say about this sometime down the road.

August 16, 2014

Saturday 8:35 PM - I'm on track for starting work on Celestial Dragon on Monday.

August 18, 2014

Monday 4:49 PM - I printed the image for Puzzle #922, Celestial Dragon, the annual auction puzzle, today. Looks good. Tomorrow I'll go to the shop, prepare a board, and then mount the puzzle as well as decide on the figural set.

August 19, 2014

Tuesday 6:08 PM - Today I prepared the board for Puzzle #922, Celestial Dragon, and mounted the print (mount still in progress). I also finalized the figural set: it will be similar to what some of the other K. Chin dragon puzzles have. I've set the projected piece count at around 500, Swirl Curl with a few fancy Creatives sprinkled in. The puzzle will be rectangular with straight edges, sized approximately 16.75" by 12.3". I will start cutting tomorrow, assuming the mount comes out OK, with a goal to complete the puzzle by Thursday and launch the auction on Friday.

August 21, 2014

Thursday 6:06 PM - I was at the shop for about four hours and cut about 165 pieces, bringing the total to about 166 pieces. I've decided to cut the pieces a bit smaller than originally planned and have upped the projected piece count from around 500 to around 615. The auction will slip some more. I've now decided to launch the auction on Tuesday August 26, as this way the 7 day auction will end on the day after Labor Day when more people should be around. The timing is unknown as I have Jury Duty that day. Cutting is going well, and I plan to do at least some cutting each day until the puzzle is done.

Puzzle 922, Celestial Dragon, current status as of today August 21, 2014

August 22, 2014

Friday 6:51 PM - Today I did about 5 1/2 hours of cutting making good progress, cutting about 208 pieces, bringing the total to about 374 pieces. Arms are a bit tired. Cutting continues to go well although I've had a few intra-delamination paper lifts each requiring a small spot of glue. So far no cutting errors and no voids. Not sure if I'm going to get any cutting in tomorrow, due to social demands. Hopefully I'll resume on Sunday and get the puzzle done on Monday, with the auction still planned for Tuesday.

Puzzle 922, Celestial Dragon, current status as of today August 22, 2014
Colors in photo distorted by shop environment, front edge is not bluish as shown here

August 23, 2014

Saturday 8:28 PM - My schedule was switched around today and I ended up putting in a very long day at the shop, completing puzzle #922, Celestial Dragon! Came out very well. Estimated piece count, 619. Will have pictures and commentary either tomorrow or Monday. Auction will be launched on Tuesday.

August 25, 2014

Monday 5:17 PM - I working to get ready for the launch of the eBay auction for Annual Auction Puzzle #4, puzzle #922, Celestial Dragon. Puzzle photography is done. I still need to do the auction write-up, will do that this evening. Preliminary piece count: 622. I'm in the process of inspecting the pieces and removing some whiskers from the back of the pieces.

I do have Jury Duty starting early tomorrow morning. I expect to be back well in time to launch the auction as I'm expecting to launch the auction around 9PM Eastern Time (6PM Pacific), perhaps a little earlier.

The puzzle looks great and I received very good compliments from some friends who looked at it yesterday [edit: picture at the top of this page].

Puzzle 922 - Figurals, a couple Creative pieces and Signature Piece
Observer, small Twirl Star, Solar Sun, Dragon's Sword
Wiener Dog, Eva Gagnon tribute piece, Shooting Star, large Twirl Star
A couple Creative Pieces (there are eight in the puzzle), Signature Piece

Puzzle #922 - Reverse side
Image tweaked in Photoshop to bring out the kerf (cutting) lines

Besides the usual Signature Piece, I marked another piece to indicate that this puzzle is Annual Auction Puzzle #4, 2014.

August 26, 2014

Tuesday 6:37 PM - I had a very long day with Jury Duty (was thanked and excused by the prosecution). I just now got the auction under way. Haven't had dinner, need to go to a dance class. Will send out auction notices later and update elsewhere here later.

August 27, 2014

Wednesday 11:08 PM - The auction for Celestial Dragon got off to a quick start and then stalled out, pretty much following the pattern of the previous Annual Auction puzzles. If the pattern continues, a few last minute bids should come in early next week. We'll see.

I've renewed my search for the remaining three K. Chin Dragon images which I have believed are out there (there may be more, but this I consider increasingly unlikely). I'll have much more to say about this later but I now know where the third of the "Silver Dragon" series is and have a very good idea where the other Golden Dragon is! The location of the "St. George and the Dragon" image remains unknown. I expect to be doing some traveling with camera before the fifth Annual Puzzle Auction.

Forgot to mention here, the final piece count for Celestial Dragon was 622. This afternoon and evening I've been laboriously doing a very detailed inspection of the pieces looking for paper lifts. I found a few and easily repaired them with no visible

From the auction description:
Custom Puzzle Craft Annual Puzzle #4

This is the fourth annual auction of a wooden jigsaw puzzle made by me in my Annual Puzzle Auction series. This puzzle, Celestial Dragon, derived from a painting of a dragon by K. Chin, features the fifth K. Chin Dragon image I've been able to locate.

Celestial Dragon
About 16 11/16" by 12 3/16"
Swirl Curl cutting style with a few scattered Creative style pieces
622 pieces including eight figurals and Signature piece.

Going back to the third puzzle I ever sold, puzzle #23, Green Dragon, in May 2000 (100 Puzzles Project puzzle #2), I have frequently featured the art of K. Chin.

Green Dragon
Imperial Silver Dragon
Royal Dragon
Golden Dragon
Green Imperial Red Red

I was initially drawn to K. Chin's art by a picture of a dragon I saw on the web in early 2000. I later found out the print was originally titled Celestial Green Dragon and did not have a unicorn in the lower left. Later, the unicorn was added, and prints of it were sold as Imperial Dragon and the Celestial Unicorn. At the time I sold the first puzzle, I had not come across either name, so Green Dragon is the name I used and continued to use.

I later came across a large untitled print of what I was told by K. Chin's sons was titled Imperial Silver Dragon. I've later seen these prints titled as either Celestial Imperial Dragon or Imperial Celestial Dragon. Again, the first puzzle was sold before learning the other titles, so Imperial Silver Dragon is the name I used and continue to use. Or just a nickname, Silver Dragon. There is something about K. Chin's dragon paintings that are so full of flow and energy! The first Silver Dragon puzzle was cut and sold in November 2000 (100 Puzzles Project puzzle #7) and was the first puzzle with some Creative style cutting although primitive by today's standards, and the first puzzle with the appearance of my Observer figural.

Also in the early going, I came across a picture of a Red Dragon. K. Chin's sons referred to is as such, although the print was titled Royal Dragon and was the name I used and continue to use. The first puzzle I made with Royal Dragon was in May 2001 (was not introduced sold via the 100 Puzzles Project).

The first three images, Green Dragon, Imperial Silver Dragon and Royal Dragon were all published as lithographs by K. Chin and in some quantity, and some cases in more than one size. These prints occasionally appear on eBay.

Over the years I've had my eyes out for additional K. Chin dragon images, but came up empty handed. I knew at least one more image existed as a less attractive dragon picture was contained in a picture of K. Chin, St. George and the Dragon. Also, K. Chin's sons recalled there being one or two others.

St. George and the Dragon picture upper left.

My luck changed, finally, early last year, when I located and purchased a small painting of a here-to-fore unknown to me K. Chin dragon, right here on eBay! I decided to name this dragon, Golden Dragon. I made a puzzle from this image last year and sold it as the third Annual Auction Puzzle in this on going auction series. Golden Dragon has a lot of dark areas around the dragon (I've cropped out some of this in the image shown here), they were included in last year's puzzle.

Not long after I acquired Golden Dragon, I received contact from the owner of another K. Chin dragon painting, located in NYC. The fifth dragon! In consultation with K. Chin's sons I'm calling this one Celestial Dragon. I have since worked out an agreement with the owner of the painting for the right to use the Celestial Dragon image for this year's fourth Annual Auction Puzzle! I hired photographer web TV series maker budding movie maker, Michael Holcomb (www.italywithmichael.com) to visit the owner of the painting and take photos for me. I ended up using four of his photos, details of the four quadrants of the painting, merging them into a single image for the puzzle. The first four dragon images are quite distinct, while the fifth one, Celestial Dragon resembles Imperial Silver Dragon, a lot more than the others.

There are still three more dragon images out there waiting to be located: The St. George and the Dragon painting, another one similar to the Imperial Silver Dragon and Celestial Dragon duet, and finally another one similar to Golden Dragon.

And now to the puzzle!

This puzzle, with 622 pieces, was cut over an four day period starting on August 20, 2014 and ending on August 23, 2014. After the puzzle was cut, I handed sanded and vacuumed the puzzle three times, with 220 grit sand paper one and then 320 grit sand paper twice. The puzzle contains eight figures (described below) plus eight scattered Creative style pieces (mostly in the dark areas). The edges are mostly directly interlocking but there are a few pairs each joined by a shared interior piece. There is but just the tiniest amount of color line cutting, for all practical purposes I'd say there is none.

This puzzle includes my standard signature piece, signed the usual way (Custom Puzzle Craft, overall puzzle number, date and my signature) and I marked a second piece on the back to indicate the puzzle is Annual Puzzle Action #4, 2014. For this puzzle I used 5-ply Appleply. The Appleply cut extremely well, the puzzle looks great front and back, there were no voids nor are they any chip-outs on the back

I think this is a fabulous puzzle! The owner is limiting me to just one Celestial Dragon puzzle! So this will obviously be a rarity. I'd like to, sometime in the future, to acquire rights for a limit series of prints, nothing initiated in this regard at this time. Due to some shadowing from the frame along the top, I did crop out about 1/2" from the top edge.

Puzzle #922 - Celestial Dragon Annual Puzzle Auction puzzle #4, year 2014

Puzzle 922 Figurals: The Observer, small Twirl Star, Solar Sun, Dragon's Sword
Wiener Dog, Eva Gagnon tribute piece, Shooting Star, large Twirl Star
A couple Creative Pieces (there are eight in the puzzle), Signature Piece

Puzzle 922 - Reverse side
Creative style piece at upper left marked with Annual Auction Puzzle #4, 2014
Signature puzzle lower left center

Puzzle 922 - Box of pieces

I remain closed for new orders although I may open briefly in early December to accept one holiday order like I did last year and then close again.

Note: I cut my jigsaw puzzles using a scroll saw, hand guiding the wood into the blade, this is not a laser or water jet cut puzzle. No templates were used for this puzzle, except for the figurals and Signature piece. My puzzles cover fantasy, landscapes, my geometric patterns, famous paintings, mythology - a diverse spectrum of the human condition and more.

I am branching out into a line of jewelry. I currently offer two earring designs and may expand into pendants. There is information on my puzzle website home page, the selling links are not active at this moment.

Shipping cost for the Celestial Dragon puzzle within the U.S. via 3-Day FedEx is $25.00. Contact me regarding international rates. I accept payment via PayPal only. California residents add 8% sales tax. I'll ship to anywhere in the world.

Celestial Dragon
K. Chin
Date Completed
August 23, 2014
16 11/16" x 12 3/16"
Cutting Style

Swirl Curl with a few Creatives

# Pieces
Color Line Cutting
Very little
The Observer, small Twirl Star, Solar Sun, Dragon's Sword
Wiener Dog, Eva Gagnon tribute piece, Shooting Star, large Twirl Star

© John S. Stokes III - Puzzle Crafter & Webmaster

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