Puzzle Michèle Wilson - Le site officiel du fabricant

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About

We hand cut beautiful wooden art puzzles for adults and children. We make them in France, respecting the environment. 



Jigsaw puzzles, named after the jigsaw they are cut on, first appeared in England in 1760. To help children learn geography, an English mapmaker created the first puzzle, gluing a map onto a mahogany board and cutting it along the country borders. Children jigsaw puzzles developed, first adding other educational (religious) topics and later as entertainment (animals, nursing rhymes). The cut was done using a manually operated jigsaw.  

At the end of the XIX century, electrically powered jigsaws started being used, not too different from the jigsaws used by Puzzle Michele Wilson today. Adult puzzles appeared around 1900 in the United States. They became fashionable with the middle classes in Boston, and later in New York. Very difficult to assemble, cut closely following the different colour lines, these puzzles were also very expensive. Russian aristocracy also greatly favoured this pastime, and brought it to France when fleeing Russia in 1917, under the brand name Vera. Michele Wilson started her business in 1975, after learning the craft working for Vera. She headed the company until 1997. Passionate about puzzles and assisted by a team of puzzle enthusiasts, Sophie Olle-Laprune was next to head and develop the artisan business. In 2013, Julien Vahanian took over the company, to ensure our beautiful puzzles stand the course of time. Today, we are a team of some twenty employees, working between Burgundy and Paris. 



EN-ABOUT-DECOUPE



Experts in working the jigsaw, our artisans spin the wooden puzzle boards in all directions, to create, one by one, pieces of unique shapes. The craftsmen and women separate the colours and different elements of the artwork, to ensure maximum difficulty

Georges Perec explains it very eloquently in his ‘Life: A User's Manual’ novel (Hachette publishers): 
‘The role of the puzzle maker is difficult to define. In most cases - in what concerns cardboard puzzles - puzzles are machine manufactured and their cut does not obey any need; a cutting press, set according to an unchangeable image, cuts each cardboard board in an identical manner; the 1 enthusiast rejects these puzzles, not solely because they are made of cardboard instead of wood, or because there is a guiding image on their cover boxes, but also because this manner of cutting destroys the very idea behind jigsaw puzzles; it adds little to a belief held dearly by the public - whether the cover image is deemed easy (a genre scene in Vermeer’s style, for example, or a colour photograph of an Austrian castle) or difficult (a Jackson Pollock, a Pissarro or - a shameful paradox - a white puzzle) - it is not the subject of the painting nor the artist’s technique which bring the difficulty of the puzzle but the subtly of its cut, and an unpredictable cut would inevitably add an unpredictable difficulty, oscillating between extreme ease for the border pieces, the clear details, the light touches, the clearly depicted objects, the transitions, and a tedious difficulty for the rest: the sky without clouds, the sand, the pasture, the workers, the shady parts etc. '

The cut depends on the style of the artist and on how each artisan perceives his/her brushwork. 



EN-ABOUT-CHALLENGE



Our puzzles are more difficult and more interesting than standard puzzles. Adult puzzles are three times more difficult than ‘classic’ puzzles (cardboard puzzles, for example), which makes them a challenge: each piece has a different shape, we therefore cannot separate them into piles of different types. The cut follows the depicted lines and subjects and it is the artisan who follows the colours and who creates their difficulty, not a machine. Each piece is different and there isn’t always a interlocking ‘fit’ between the pieces. Our puzzles are unique and strategies to assemble each one vary. This is why they are so cherished. Racking one’s brains is good for the health…



EN-ABOUT-ARTISTIQUE



There is a clear demand for art, as can be seen from the continuing success of great exhibitions of classical painting. Assembling a jigsaw puzzles allows you one-on-one time with an artwork and lets you discover each of its many intricate details. 

Our puzzle catalogue spans a large selection of works, including ancient art (Antiquity, Middle Ages, religious art, Flemish art, Brueghel, Bosch, Renaissance, Italian art), oriental art (Mughal school, Tibetan art, Persian art, Chinese art, Japanese art, Hiroshige, Hokusai), XVII century art (galleries of paintings), XVIII century art (fans, cats), XIX century art (English school, French school, American school, Tissot, Fournier, Turner, Vernet), modern art (Impressionism, Pissarro, Caillebotte, Renoir, Degas, Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Rousseau, Klimt, Mucha), contemporary art (Modigliani, Chagall, Serusier, Matisse, Dufy, Delaunay, Picasso, Klee, Kandinsky, Dali, Alain Thomas), and many others. Looking for works which will be stimulating once cut into puzzles, either because of their artistic merits or because of their many details, is one of our top priorities.  

We are always happy to hear your suggestions of works, via our order forms, phone, our online contacts webpage or on our social media pages. 



EN-ABOUT-ENVIRONNEMENT



Made in France, our puzzles are made from poplar plywood sourced from sustainable forests (meaning the cut trees are automatically replanted afterwards). 
The paper used in the making of the puzzles follows the FSC regulations, as does the paper used for our boxes. This allows us to make beautiful artisanal wooden puzzles, whilst respecting the environment. Handling wooden pieces and putting a puzzle together are a singular experience, of incomparable calm which allows us to forget our daily life and troubles. These eco-friendly puzzles also allow children to develop their tactile skills, thanks to our collection of children puzzles. This allows them to discover an alternative to cardboard puzzles (which tend to be easily damaged and are not always as interesting).  

To discover a puzzle with Puzzle Michele Wilson is to demand the highest quality!



EN-ABOUT-BOITES



Our adult puzzle collection is sold in ivory-coloured cardboard boxes, engraved with golden letters. On the top lid, you can find the complete work of art to help you when putting the puzzle together, and on the sides, a description of the artwork helps you learn its history and some information about the artist. Our ‘Museum’ collection is sold in solid, modern metal boxes. Our small, 30-piece puzzles are sold in pretty little see-through plastic cubes, called Cuzzles. 
Children puzzles are either sold in a plastic design pouch, which allows the little ones to easily put away their puzzle pieces, or in an attractive, contemporary cardboard box. 



EN-ABOUT-SENNECEY



Our puzzles are made in France, in our workshop in Burgundy and our boutique-workshops in Paris
The know-how of artisan puzzle makers has been passed down for many decades. 

These puzzles are three times more difficult than normal puzzles: each piece has a different shape so we cannot separate them in piles of similar types. The cut follows the depicted subject, and it is the artisan who cuts following the different colours and lines and who creates the puzzle’s difficulty, not a machine. The puzzles are unique, so the strategy to put each one of them together differs from puzzle to puzzle. 

Puzzle Michele Wilson also offers puzzles for children aged 3 to 12, sold in a design pouch or pretty cardboard boxes. The collection includes maps (including the famous map of France, where the cut follows each department), artwork puzzles to initiate children to the world or art and puzzles created by reputed contemporary children book illustrators. 



CLUB1000



The collection ‘Club des 1000’, which includes puzzles from 900 to 5000 pieces, is targeted at very experienced puzzle enthusiasts. Each new collection is exclusively offered to members of the club, roughly four times per year. To join the club, become a puzzle champion who puts together 1000-piece puzzles or more. 

The pieces in the Museum collection are twice as large as our normal pieces and closely fit together. These puzzles are aimed at a more elderly clientele or at those looking to put together a puzzle more quickly. 

Thanks to our artisanal working methods, we can custom make puzzles for your museum or store for orders over 84 copies of the same image. The delivery time is approximately 4 to 5 weeks. We would need a high-definition image which you are authorised to use. The cost of making is the same as that of a normal puzzle of the same size in our catalogue plus the cost of design. Don’t hesitate to make two different types, this would give your customers a choice. 

 

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