This week on the blog we’re featuring White Mountain puzzles. There’s a terrific sale on White Mountain at Puzzle Warehouse all month (30% off!). So we’re featuring White Mountain reviews this week and we’ll have an interview with one of the partner’s at White Mountain on the weekend.
The box front is shown above. The front shows the image, the puzzle title, and the piece count. The box size is roughly 10″ x 12″. The front of the box is the only picture you get of the puzzle image, but it is large enough to work from.
Back: The back of the box is blank white.
3 sides feature an image of the puzzle, the piece count, puzzle name and White Mountain logo. The year of manufacture (2013) is on one side. I tried to find the artist name but, not only is it not on the front, it’s not even in the copyright notices on the side. I’m guessing White Mountain commissioned this image so they own it outright, but it still would have been nice to have an artist name. Possibly the artist was Ernest O. Brown, who has done a number of White Mountain puzzles such as “Birds of the Backyard“. The art style looks similar.
This puzzle comes with nothing except a sheet about White Mountain puzzles that has a guarantee and lets you sign up for catalogs and newsletters. The bag of puzzle pieces was in good shape with no bent or still connected pieces. There was a small amount of puzzle dust.
I dinged the box a bit for lack of an artist name. Also, since this puzzle has an educational slant, it would have been nice to have some sort of information about perennial flowers included. What’s the definition of “perennial”? Where do these types of flowers grow? Just some basic info on the back or side or on an inside sheet would have been nice.
The Image: 10/10
I would classify this puzzle as being in the “educational collage” category that White Mountain does so well, though it can also be viewed as simply a flower puzzle. The theme is perennial flowers, and the “educational” part is due to the fact that the perennials are named on the puzzle, so you can learn a little about perennial flowers while putting the puzzle together.
I appreciate that White Mountain commissions images like this and comes up with themes and topics that are unique in the puzzle world. For example, they have similar puzzles on birds, state flags, historical periods such as the civil war, etc. It’s nice to see puzzles that aren’t like puzzles other brands carry. I have quite a few of the “educational” and “regional” White Mountain puzzles in my collection.
The main appeal to of this particular image to me, though, is that it’s simply a lovely array of flowers with gorgeous colors and lots of detail. I like the art style which is all hand-drawn and colored. The flowers are clear and distinct and the greenery fills in without being obtrusive or creating large monotone areas. It’s a beautiful puzzle once assembled and worthy of being framed.
I also really like the composition of this image and how it makes for a great puzzle. The sky, trees, and tan fence at the top are easy areas to assemble and a nice change from the flower texture in the rest of the image. Similar colors are strewn around the flower composition to add a little challenge.
I’ve given this image full marks. It’s a lovely, well-designed puzzle image.
(Click on any of the images in this review for a closer look.)
Puzzle Quality: (8/10)
I recently updated my White Mountain Brand Comparison page. I quite liked the quality on their 2016 puzzle, “Winter Village“. “Perennials” from 2013 is similar in quality. As with “Winter Village”, there was some image lift in “Perennials” in 2-3 places. See the close-ups below. This is something that you can fix with a spot of glue if you’ve a mind too. I really enjoyed this puzzle–the theme, image, cut, and general feel– so this issue wasn’t enough to deter me from liking it and rating it well. I did deduct 1 quality point for image lift..
As I mention in my brand comparison, I like the larger piece sizes in White Mountain and the random cut. I like that pieces stay connected fairly well, so you can move around blocks of assembled pieces without them falling part. I also like how smooth and flat the pieces lie once connected, and the larger size of the finished puzzle. The colors are very rich and clear. There is a glossy finish, which can lead to glare under bright daylight or overheads lights.
Note that because of the larger finished size, you will need to use a JigBoard 2000 for a 1000 piece puzzle like this one.
I’d rate this a moderate difficulty puzzle. There’s nothing especially hard about it, but the distribution of similar colors around the flower area gives it a little bit more challenge than an easy puzzle.
DAY ONE & TWO:
The first thing that went together was the border. The border is green and white all the way around. But the position of the green stripe in relation to the pieces varied slightly for each side, and often the piece showed a little of the area inside the border, so it wasn’t especially difficult. The high variation in piece shapes helps a lot in this regard as it would have been much more difficult with very similar shaped pieces.
After the border, I did the blue sky and the tan fence. There’s relatively little sky in the composition, and it has clouds and color variation that make it straight-forward to assemble. The tan fence is also distinctive and easy to work.
Next, I pulled all the yellow pieces. There are similar shades of bright yellow throughout. But, as you can see in the close-up below, the different yellow flowers have different textures, such as the tulip and chrysanthenmum below. So you can assemble the individual yellow areas and then place those completed flowers approximately where they go in within the border.
From there you can assemble other very distinctive flower colors — the pinks, purplse, blues, reds, and oranges.
I particularly liked he delphiniums and lilacs, with their tiny florets.
The last bits to go together in this puzzle for me were the white and green pieces. There are dashes of white flowers throughout and it’s a bit harder to see the textures on those, or maybe the pieces just don’t catch my eye as well as the brighter shades, but I did the white flowers last.
The greenery has varying textures, but I mostly assembled these areas by first filling in any left-over colored tips that went to adjacent flowers, and then just looking at the areas around the ‘holes’ and trying to find pieces with similar shades of green and similar textures. There really aren’t a lot of green pieces with no color on them at all, which is a very well-designed aspect of the puzzle.
Above: The center of the flower composition.
I given a perfect score in assembly to this puzzle. It was really fun–lots of vibrant colors and textures to piece together. I liked assembling the different flowers and placing them within the composition and slowly filling in around them. There aren’t really repeating elements that make it more difficult, as there were with “Tapestry Cat“. Flowers that have the same color and texture are grouped together in the scene (like the orange poppies). I liked it so much I would assemble this puzzle again and I’ll look for more that are similar. (NOTE: There is an out of print White Mountain called “Annuals” which is similar. Another puzzle “Orchids” is still available.)
White Mountain’s “Perennials” is a gorgeous puzzle that’s super fun to assemble. The image has some educational value in that it shows the names of the various perennial flowers. I particularly enjoyed the vibrant colors and how different textures made flowers easy to identify even when they had the same colors as other flowers. The main body of the scene is so packed full of unique flowers that there’s very little left-over green background to do in the end, making the puzzle very enjoyable all the way through. The White Mountain quality is good with larger pieces and a random cut. The final puzzle has a flat, smooth finish that allows you to see the art rather than the jigsaw cut. The finish is glossy, so there is some glare under bright lights. Highly recommended!
Where to find:
Click below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse. This puzzle is 30% off throughout August 2016.
“Orchids” by White Mountain (click below to see it on Puzzle Warehouse)