Created in the centuries-old European tradition, Smyth Puzzles are a “cut” above the machine-stamped cardboard jigsaws you’re familiar with! Hand-crafted by puzzle master Mary Lee Smyth without the use of any automation, laser-cutting, or CNC aids, each individual puzzle piece is cut freehand, guided by nothing but skill built through decades of careful practice. The freedom of hand-crafting means that each Smyth Puzzle is a one-of-a-kind challenge created just for you, and one that is crafted to last a lifetime!
Smyth Puzzles are cut to a standard of approximately two pieces per square inch... but don’t think that means there’ll be anything uniform about the way they fit together! One of the delights we take in our puzzlecraft are the cutting tricks, designs and special options to keep you on your puzzling toes. Here are a few of Mary Lee’s favourite features to look out for in your Smyth Puzzle:
- Freestyle Pieces: Far from the stale, uniform grids of mass-produced puzzles, the hand-cut pieces intricately curve, twist, and swirl around the contours of the image.
- Corners to Nowhere: If you try to start by framing up the outer edges of your puzzle, you may find four corners... or you may find six!
- Edges in the Middle: Along with misplaced corners, you may find that the straight-line “edge” you've been working on doesn’t fit any side of the puzzle, but belongs in the middle instead!
- Disappearing Edges: Even as you find “edges” through the middle of your puzzle, some true edges may be hidden with a special cutting technique that obscures the straight-line edge without its adjoining pieces.
- Magic Corners: Another cutting technique can even disguise a 90-degree corner as an interior piece... beware if you’re determined to build a frame!
- Colour-Line Cutting: By cutting along the border of different colours in the picture, the pieces may deny you hints about where to look for their neighbors. (No whining!)
- Bohemian Edge: A simple rectangle or square may be the most common form for a puzzle, but it’s by no means the only option. For an extra dose of challenge, try selecting a design with its own distinct shape!
- Whimsies: Let your imagination run wild with custom pieces in the shape of names, initials, dates, hobbies, favourite pets, occupations, and more! Every Smyth Puzzle can be customised with whimsies at no charge, and if you aren’t sure what you’d like, we'll be happy to choose for you. Be warned, adding too many can make the puzzle easier, but in moderation they add a flair that’s all your own to the puzzling experience!
- Hidden Message: For a surprise touch on a gift, you can request a hidden message written on the puzzle’s underside. The unsuspecting recipient may wonder at the fragments of gold writing on the backs of the pieces, but the full message won't be revealed until they flip over the completed puzzle!
We offer a selection of prints to engage all levels of puzzling preferences, and are glad to help if you want guidance on a particular design’s difficulty level. We’re equally happy to guide you to a more relaxed option or point to the real brain-busters if you’re looking for a challenging puzzle... or just want to torture a gift recipient!
If you have something special in mind, we’re also excited to offer the option of ordering a custom-designed puzzle just for you or someone you love. Mary Lee has experience creating puzzles out of family photo prints, musical scores, blueprints, wedding invitations, scorecards, and more. Let’s put our heads together and come up with a spectacular, one-of-a-kind creation!
Finally, within each puzzle will always be the distinctive Maple Leaf piece, which is signed and dated by Mary Lee Smyth. A symbol both of Mary Lee’s childhood home of Vermont and her adopted nation of Canada, the Maple Leaf represents her love for both and how they have shaped her craft. Only a Smyth Puzzle will have this special signed whimsy, which guarantees you an heirloom-quality puzzle.
Please enjoy shopping and let us know if we can create a puzzle just for you. Thank you!