As co-founders and curators at Art of Play, we’re always looking for new and unusual items to add to the catalog, and sometimes that means venturing across the world in search of puzzles, games, and amusements that can’t be found in North America.
If you've been following us for a few years, you may remember our 2017 trip to Japan. We ended up in a small village near the base of Mt. Fuji and discovered the unbelievable ingenuity and craftsmanship of a group of puzzle makers still relying on centuries-old traditions and designs. Several of these puzzles are now part of our permanent catalog, can can be purchased here.
In early February 2018, we returned from a week-long excursion through Europe. Our first stop was Nuremberg, Germany where we attended the world's largest toy fair, Spielwarenmesse. We let our curiosity guide us through miles of aisles of exhibitors and like kids in a candy store, our eyes lit up every time we discovered something too good not to share.
After the exhibition in Nuremberg, we ventured to Prague to explore their rich heritage of puzzle making. The “Hedgehog in a Cage” puzzle is iconic in the Czech Republic, it's even depicted in street art.
While in Prague, we were introduced to an esteemed collector and puzzle designer who generously welcomed us to sit with him for hours in a local cafe. He paged through out-of-print books and rare catalogs, then explained the history of the craftsman and inventors who made each of the designs. The big surprise came when he emptied out two huge bags of samples onto the table. It was a surreal experience playing with the puzzles in the presence of such a knowledgeable expert. We learned so much. After coffee, our new friend gave us a tour through the city. We stopped at all of his favorite puzzle shops, one of which had a puzzle museum in the back.
It was a wonderful trip filled with surprising discoveries. Our international search for original and beautifully crafted puzzles was a big success. To be the first to know about our latest releases on Art of Play, sign up to receive their newsletter here.