Hobbies

Post image for Good news for jigsaw fans – Menlo Park is home to Artifact Puzzles

The notion that “it would be fun to buy a laser cutter” kept creeping into Maya Gupta’s brain. “I studied electrical engineering because I was interested in lasers,” she explained in the warehouse space of Menlo Park-based Artifact Puzzles, which she started as a hobby and is turning into a business.

The idea of making puzzles using a laser cutter faced one significant hurdle. “Laser cutters are not designed to cut plywood, which are what puzzles are made out of,” she said. “They’re made to cut wood. It takes a lot of work to cut 300 pieces.”

Artifact puzzles are designed for teens and adults and range in size from 54 to close to 600 pieces, priced from $25 to $120. Many contain”whimsy pieces,” a recognizable shape of something, such as an animal or airplane.

About 100 different puzzles are in stock at any given time, and 40 new puzzles will debut this year. “We spend a lot of time deciding how to design the pieces,” said Maya. “Shapes and sizes are what make puzzles interesting. A puzzle needs to look good in pieces as well as when it’s put together.”

Artifacts puzzle box by Becky Flanagan

Customer feedback is key to puzzle creation. “It’s fun to read the customer reviews,” said Maya. “Some of our customers buy every puzzle we make — there are a lot of collectors!

“Our customers also select what images we should use to make a puzzle. We give them five options and they vote.

“Van Gogh has been a popular artist but Picasso has not. We also commission original artwork. Hummingbirds have been our best seller.

Maya and her team welcome inquiries from artists about licensing their artwork. They can be reached at artifactpuzzles@gmail.com

Photos by Rebecca Flanagan 

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M-A Robotic Team 766 readies its robot to play Ultimate Ascent

After six weeks of planning, prototyping, building, testing, rebuilding, and even more testing, team 766′s robot was finished on February 20 at 12 am. The robot was designed to play Ultimate Ascent, a competition involving robots throwing disks into goals in order to score points (for a brief overview click here). The robot’s shooting mechanism is […]

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Tom Kabat creates whimsical but functional wooden bicycles

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Tom Kabat admits he’s always been wild about bikes. “In high school, I was a bike snob,” he says. “Today, I like all kinds of things about bikes. I’m into bicycle advocacy. I do bike repair on bike to work days. I like getting people into biking.” For the past 10 years, the Menlo Park […]

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How Gordy Gourdin’s passion for flying led to antique clock collecting

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Given Gordy Gourdin’s love of flying and his description of himself as a “tinker junky,” you’d think his Atherton home might be lined with model airplanes. Instead, a visitor is greeted by a wall of old clocks, just part of a collection that also resides in a second home in Oregon and his sister’s home […]

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Synonymous: Charlie Marshall and vintage automobiles

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Automobiles have always been a major part of Charlie Marshall’s life. He remembers growing up in Menlo Park down the street from car dealership owner George Paddleford. “It seemed like he had a different car in his driveway every day,” recalls Charlie, who now lives in Atherton. “Plus I think in that era, people bought […]

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Camarillo Pacific Railroad fires up rebuilt steam locomotive to visitors’ delight

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Colin Camarillo, who operates Camarillo Pacific Railroad in the front yard of his Menlo Park home, kept his many diesel engines in the train barn this afternoon in favor of his recently rebuilt steam locomotive (two far right bottom images). “The locomotive was one of the first I bought when I built the railroad in […]

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Bobbie Fakkema’s passions – great dogs, great events

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Willows resident Bobbie Fakkema admits to being competitive, a trait that serves her well in both her vocation as caterer/event planner and avocation owning Airedale champion show dogs. She was first introduced to terriers in 1970 when she attended a Golden Gate Kennel Club show. “I went looking for a dog to own,” she says. […]

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Camarillo Pacific Railroad debuts special new bridge

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There have been some major renovations of the Camarillo Pacific Railroad since we first visited, none more spectacular than the new eight-foot bridge built by Colin Camarillo in memory of his good friend, Bryce Gilbert, who passed away last year. “Bryce’s father gave me a really special locomotive — there are only a few hundred […]

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Spotted: Menlo Park-baked cake at American Craft Council show

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While neither a crafts person or baker, it was Menlo Park resident Amy Bayersdorfer who took the cake, so to speak, at the American Craft Council show, which wrapped up a weekend stay in San Francisco today. Amy had seen a notice inviting bakers to make cakes inspired by artworks created by participating Council artists […]

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Bob Zider: Teeing up to change the game of golf

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Bob Zider has golf handicap of 20 and likes it that way. (“There’s no pressure on you.”) He thinks playing eight holes is just about perfect. (“What is the magic of playing 18 holes in consecutive order?”) And he wonders why golf is a game where amateurs play by pro rules with sanctioned equipment. (“There […]

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And they’re off! Menlo Park Cub Scouts hold annual Pinewood Derby

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The tigers, wolves and cubs gathered wide-eyed around the room. A palpable buzz of excitement filled the air and the track loomed large. Some wolves feverishly looked for their number, while some tigers scampered about trying to eye the clock. The scene, while fraught with tension and excitement, wasn’t a trip to the zoo. It […]

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