Puzzling shop reflects its patrons’ lives | TheUnion.com

Puzzling shop reflects its patrons’ lives

Eileen Joyce
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

A puzzling new shop is opening on Broad Street in Nevada City.

Life Puzzles at 234 Broad St. sells jigsaw puzzles made by the store’s owner, Bryan Damewood.

Damewood, 26, takes album covers, family photos and other pictures and makes jigsaw puzzles out of them. The image is cured onto the wood with plastic, and Damewood then carves out inch-deep figures which make up the puzzle. The puzzles sell from $40 to $800.

“Most of my clients aren’t really like puzzle fanatics,” said Damewood, who doesn’t count the number of pieces that make up each puzzle, carving the pictures up so they’re aesthetically pleasing rather than to reach a certain number of pieces. “They just think they’re cool pictures, you know, 3-D, and they’re neat conversation pieces.”

The record album jigsaw puzzles hold LPs. Underneath the puzzle pieces is a reproduction of the album’s back side.

Damewood has been busy finishing puzzles for a local business and a new order for Gump’s, the San Francisco specialty store. He is working on a new run of puzzles for Gump’s which include Asian horse-riding figures, an Oriental vase with goldfish and an old map of Paris.

Life Puzzles won’t be Damewood’s first retail puzzle place. Damewood had a retail store at 151 Mill St. from 1996 to 1999.

He started making the puzzles in Grass Valley when he was a middle-school student at Lyman Gilmore, carving up scrap into puzzles in wood shop.

He started the business when he was 18, using a Sears credit card to purchase his first scroll saw. Large orders always seemed to materialize in time to pay the rent at the Mill Street store, and Damewood went on to sell puzzles in London. He landed the Gump’s account in 1998. Damewood said he was the first to create the art concept.

He is hiring help to staff the store and training apprentices to help him carve. Completing a puzzle can take as long as six weeks.

“Every puzzle’s different, depending on how I carve it,” said Damewood.

He said he is available by appointment and will have a grand opening. No date has been set.

Life Puzzles can be reached at 265-0222.

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