Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Of Puzzles, Gifts, and Oriental Rugs

I mentioned in the previous post that I enjoy solving puzzles and creating puzzles for others to solve. Meaning, that I am a very inquisitive person who enjoys a good mystery, and the pursuit of figuring stuff out on my own. Well, continuing on that note, pertaining to puzzles and a memory of my father, there is one more thing I wanted to share before moving on, involving in this case, a literal puzzle, a homemade gift I gave my dad, just a couple years after making my homemade book safe (the subject of the last post).

My dad, despite being politically conservative on most issues, actually has some pretty exotic tastes for a conservative white dude. For instance, he furnished his home with antiques from Africa, the Middle East, and Tibet, things like: African tribal masks, brass Buddhas, mandalas, hand-carved prayer wheels, and oriental rugs. In fact, if you were to ask me which object I most associate with my father, I would say: an oriental rug. He always had a large, colorful, and elaborately designed oriental rug, which may have been Persian, but I'm not sure, in the center of his living room. His was the first one I ever saw, and although there were a couple other people in my family who had oriental rugs, my dad's was the nicest one I had ever seen in person.

So, at the age of 16, when I was trying to figure out what to give my dad for his birthday, when I found a jigsaw puzzle at the thrift store for like a dollar, of a fine art reproduction of The Carpet Merchant by Jean-Leon Gerome, I knew instantly that it would be the perfect gift for my dad. Though knowing that he wasn't really much of a jigsaw puzzle solver himself, I thought I'd put it together for him, giving him not the puzzle, but the completed picture, as his gift. It was a pretty large puzzle, don't remember how many pieces it contained, but it took me awhile to complete. When I finally finished it, the work was not yet done, I still had to mount it on a frame. I glued it on a cardboard foundation, and made some kind of homemade frame for it. Or maybe I found a frame, I don't know, but either way, I put it all together so that it could be mounted without falling apart. Whereupon I wrapped it up, so that he would not see what it was right away, and would be surprised when he opened it. Pretty good accomplishment for a 16 year old. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, homemade presents are the best.

He loved it. And mounted it on his wall, right in the same room with his oriental rug, where it remained for years. Maybe it's still there, maybe not, I wouldn't know. But it looked really good, complemented the room. I never discussed artwork with my dad, but from what I remember about it, I believe he hadn't ever seen the picture prior to that, and he really genuinely liked it, wasn't just being polite for his kid's sake. So, it all worked out well. Was a very lucky find. And from that day forward, every time I see that picture, I think of my dad. It's him, totally. It's a good picture. I like it. Maybe one day I'll have another one mounted in my home.

For a related post, see: My Favorite Paintings.

The Carpet Merchant, c. 1887
by Jean-Leon Gerome.
Depicting the Court of the Rug Market
in Cairo, Egypt.

*This is post 2 of 20, part of my "Twenty posts in 30 Days Challenge". I also walked 5 miles today, another one of my challenges, and took lots of pictures. So I should have post 3 of 20 up either later tonight, or otherwise, if I'm too tired, probably tomorrow. It's a slow start, but I'll get there. I have to, or it's all over.