Review: “Poppy Garden” by Chrissie Snelling, Otter House — 8.5/10
Publisher: Otter House (UK), 2016
Title: “Poppy Garden” by Chrissie Snelling, 1000 pieces
Finished Dimensions: 27″ x 19.25″
Review by Jane
OUR RATING: 8.5/10
Box Quality: (9/10) The box is shown above and below. Otter House has “space saving” boxes, which are smaller in size, sturdy, and nicely designed. I like the smaller sized box, especially since it comes with a poster inside so you don’t have to work with a smaller box image. The box is 7.5″ x 10.25″. The front of the box has the piece count and the name of the puzzle but not the artist.
The back of the box is blank white.
The two short sides are identical with the image, artist name (“the Chrissie Snelling Collection”), and size. One long side has copyright info. This is the only place where the Otter House logo is shown. It would be nice to have the brand logo on the more decorative ends as well. It shows the year of manufacture, which is nice.
Inside the box:
The box contains the bag of puzzle pieces (in excellent condition), a small warranty card, and a poster of the image. The poster is likely provided because of the “space saver” box, which is smaller. I used the poster while working the puzzle and it’s a good size to work with. The back of the poster is white. The poster is 9.5″ x 13.25″. The box is 7.5″ x 10.25″.
The Image: 9/10
This image always struck me when I scanned through Otter House’s catalog, so I finally requested it for review. I could tell it would be a more difficult puzzle but worth it. The image is quite lovely. It’s a painting by Chrissie Snelling and it has a softer feel compared to a busy cartoon puzzle or line-based puzzle. If you look at it closely, you can see the brushwork. The colors are striking–green, red-orange, black, and the blue of the ‘sky’ at the top. It’s definitely a bold image and would be a nice one to frame when you’re done.
Above: The completed puzzle. Click for closer view.
Puzzle Quality: 8/10
The Otter House puzzles have good quality. Their puzzles are grid cut, but have a wide variety of shapes, as you can see in the close-up below. The pieces are a bit thinner than Ravensburger, but they are made of a material that feels very hard and ‘unbendable’. The pieces have good interlock and never appear to go where they don’t belong. The puzzles has a glossy surface, but I didn’t have too much trouble with glare under my lights.
One key aspect of Otter House is that the piece cut all but disappears in the final puzzle. It has a very smooth finish. So this is an excellent candidate for framing.
As I mentioned above, I knew this would be a more difficult puzzle based on the image–and it was. I did the border first, the blue sky, the white flowers in the lower left, and then the black cat. There are places on the cat’s body which are solid black, but most of the body has some blue tint (the light on the cat) or whiskers or other things that give you a clue as to where the piece goes. So the cat is not that difficult. The red poppies, however, take a little time to sort out. There are a lot of them and it takes assembling small groups of pieces before enough of the shape of the flower becomes apparent that you can see ‘which’ flower in the composition it is. On the plus side, any green or blue or black piece that has even a tiny tip of red is more easily placed at the end. That orange-red is really distinct! So yeah, expect to spend a little time on the poppies.
After the poppies were done, the last part was the greenery. Fortunately, there are different textures in various areas of the puzzle. For example, in the detail picture below you can see some small pink ‘dots’ of flowers above the large white flowers. The ‘ferny’ textured leaves of the poppies, some of the pink/mauve leaves, the yellower buds, and the trees at the top all have distinct textures. So the red poppies were really the most difficult part to put together.
If you like the drama of this bold image, or the challenge of a harder puzzle, I recommend “Poppy Garden” whole-heartedly. The puzzle quality is good and the final completed puzzle is gorgeous and perfect for framing..
Where to find:
This puzzle is currently in print, but can be hard to find. In the UK, many gift shops carry Otter House cards, calendars, and puzzles. Amazon UK often has them (but doesn’t have this one right now). Internationally, you can find this puzzle on ebay (here is one listing).