Making jigsaw puzzle art
Holyoke Puzzles grew out of Barbara Bitgood’s hobby of crafting unique hardwood puzzles for friends and family. As requests for custom puzzles started to come in, Barbara decided to turn her pastime into a business in 2013. Barbara designs, hand cuts and finishes each original wooden jigsaw puzzle in her workshop in Holyoke.
Specializing in designs that stand up as sculptural works of art when assembled, she begins by hand drawing a pattern. Whether an animal, mythical beast, machine, building or landscape scene, Barbara carefully selects hardwoods that will enhance the design and give it texture and presence. Maple, oak, walnut, shedua, padauk, ash, poplar, bloodwood and purpleheart are just some of the materials that she works with. Barbara then hand cuts the puzzle on a scroll saw and individually sands each piece. Puzzles receive a non-toxic finish and whimsical touches, including crystal eyes and wire antennae. The challenge of working with new designs and materials keeps the creative process forever fresh and exciting.
Holyoke Puzzles’ product line includes simple child-friendly designs, puzzles to challenge adults, wedding guest book puzzles, event commemorations, and educational geographic puzzles. Custom designs can be created based on customers’ photos or ideas. Barbara carefully sources her wood from reputable suppliers to ensure that it is sustainably harvested. She prefers non-toxic tung oil, mineral oil, and shellac finishes, ensuring that each puzzle has a beautiful finish to last for many years. Holyoke Puzzles products can be purchased online, at Overlook Farm in Westhampton, MA and at craft shows in western Massachusetts throughout the year.
What sets Holyoke Puzzles apart?
★ Original designs. Each pattern was created by Barbara and can’t be found anywhere else. She can quickly create a custom design for you, as well.
★ Each puzzle is hand cut on a scroll saw by Barbara. No computer controlled machines here.
★ Every piece is individually sanded on all sides for a finish that is pleasing to the touch.
★ Made of quality hardwoods so they will last for years with heavy use.
★ Finished with non-toxic materials.
★ Sustainably sourced wood. Barbara cares about the world that we will leave for our children, so she only purchases wood from suppliers who meet U.S. Department of Agriculture standards for sustainable forestry and importation practices.
★ Creative use of unusual materials such as crystal and jewelry wire to add spark and whimsy.
★ 100% commitment to making YOU happy!
The 2017 Natural Parenting Expo will be held at Appleton Farm in Ipswich, MA on Saturday, July 15.