26 Feb 2020

The jigsaw puzzle that can express anyone's face

I believe someone who loves puzzles may also like to play with a jigsaw puzzle. I had played a lot with jigsaw puzzles when I was a kid, but I haven't played jigsaw puzzles recently. The last jigsaw puzzle I played with was M.C. Escher's artwork, "Ascending and Descending." As you probably guessed, I started the four corners of the puzzle first, then finished each edge of the picture and built all the pieces with the picture printed. So, what happened was there was a blank area left with no pieces between the edge and the centre of the picture like a moat of a castle. I only had white pieces remaining. This is my bad habit. I will get tired of finishing a jigsaw puzzle as I approach the end, especially when there are no pictures printed on pieces.

If you are the one who does like me, there is an interesting jigsaw puzzle for you. I had one when I was in Japan. It's "Jigazo Puzzle." Jigazo means self-portrait in Japanese. This is a pun that was named by the company Tenyo. Tenyo company was established in 1931 in Tokyo by a famous Japanese magician, Tenyo Shokyokusai. Their products are sets of magic tricks, mysterious goods, for example, savings boxes where money disappears and jigsaw puzzles. Probably, you have seen one of them. They have been producing ordinary jigsaw puzzles, but in 2009, they released an epoch-making jigsaw puzzle, "Jigazo Puzzle."

As you can see from the title, Jigazo Puzzle can make anyone's face using the same 300 pieces. You can make a dog face or cat face too. Those 300 pieces can be used again and again. Firstly, you take someone's face that you want to make and send it to Tenyo's website. They will reply attached with the design drawing. The details can be seen on the video below. Actually, this is so much fun. If you get bored with an ordinary jigsaw puzzle, why don't you try?


19 Feb 2020

The creator of unique works using gears, Kango Suzuki

I found a very talented young guy through Twitter whom puzzle lovers would definitely be interested in. His name is Kango Suzuki. Seeing is believing. Firstly, let me show you one of his works, "plock." 

This was made for his graduation artwork when he was a university student. This clock doesn't have any electric parts and the time is displayed on the magnetic board in every minute.

Here is some information about Kango.
When he was small, he loved remodeling mechanical pencils and making rubber guns made of split chopsticks. He also loved origami like many other puzzle lovers. He had taken a mechanical engineering course at the local high school and after that he enrolled in Tohoku University of Art and Design, then took the course, product design, as the major study. There was a senior student named Takumi Umemura who made a mechanical clock, and his works inspired Kango. Then, he made the "plock." The "plock" was uploaded to SNS and has received a great response.

His artworks have been presented to several exhibitions and his "time castle" which uses the mechanism of "plock" got the Best Performance Award of MONOZUKURI Cultural Exhibition. The difference of "time castle" from "plock" is using the Theo Jansen mechanism for erasing the numbers. He spent about five months to complete.
time castle
Those works of his are mostly big, but I found a little funny one called, "Gear Dama." You can buy it from a 3D print service online shop, DMM. Unfortunately, this website is only written in Japanese, but it's worth trying if you really want to buy it.
Gear Dama 

His artworks made from complicated mechanism still attract anyone from adults to children. There is attractiveness in his works. I found his interview article on the internet. He says that he loves gears. I love gears too. It's so much fun to watch gears moving. On the interview, he says that he hopes to make a living with making those things he is interested in. Well, probably his dream will come true someday in the future, he is only 26 years old.

He says that he welcomes getting an order of his artwork. If you would like to offer a kind of mechanism or karakuri job to someone, you can contact him from the following page. I hope his dream comes true.
Kango Suzuki website (Japanese): https://www.uselesscrown.com/
Kango Suzuki Twitter: https://twitter.com/BellTreeNursing
Contact page: https://www.uselesscrown.com/contact