Puro Puzzles: San Antonio Florist David Garcia Joins the Jigsaw Game

click to enlarge Dulces Sueños - COURTESY OF NO. 9
Courtesy of No. 9
Dulces Sueños
Googling the words “puzzle” and “pandemic” these days returns headlines such as “People are Curbing Their Stay-at-Home Anxiety the Analog Way: With Puzzles” from CNN. Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal posted “Coronavirus Means Everyone Wants Jigsaw Puzzles. Good Luck Buying One.”

An odd example of collective consciousness in the e-tail era, the puzzle boom has resulted in unmeetable demand. Puzzle giant Ravensburger has been unable to fulfill orders and “puzzles for adults” jumped from the 1,435th most-searched item on Amazon into the top 10 alongside cleaning supplies and toilet paper. Sought-after puzzles are being resold at premiums and small businesses are stepping in to fill gaps in the market.

No. 9 — a Beacon Hill boutique specializing in floral design, gifts and chocolates — is one such example.

“We were, and still are, getting calls from people who want floral product from us, [but] we just haven’t been in the position to do it,” owner David Garcia said. “That’s how the puzzle thing came along. … I was reading about puzzles selling out — and people selling them for ridiculous prices on eBay — and I was like, ‘Wow, this is kind of shitty. And this is maybe a good way for us to jump in the game.’”

After connecting with a fabricator, Garcia ordered several designs reproducing artwork he’d commissioned. Priced at $35, his puzzles all ring in at 500 pieces, with the difficulty level of each depending largely on imagery. The puzzles are available online at no9floralandgifts.com.

click to enlarge Arcoiris - COURTESY OF NO. 9
Courtesy of No. 9
Named after the Spanish word for rainbow, Arcoiris depicts a grid of color-coded skulls Garcia assembled for a Día de los Muertos ofrenda honoring the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre. “We had that image in front of the altar, [and] people signed well wishes to Pulse on it,” Garcia explained. Repeated pattern aside, Arcoiris is perhaps the easiest puzzle in the bunch.

Comida Por Vida
A graphic homage to the Alamo City’s culinary inclinations, Comida Por Vida is a no-brainer for foodies in quarantine. The work of graphic designer Enzo Fiorello, the design celebrates barbacoa, Big Red, tacos and paletas in a playful melange of fonts and illustrations. Since it was commissioned as a silkscreen for baby onesies, it’s completely black and white — which makes for tricky puzzling.

Dulces Sueños
Candy-colored conchas, rainbow sprinkle cookies and pig-shaped maranitos fill this pan dulce extravaganza. Photographed by Feliz Modern proprietor Ginger Diaz and originally printed on beach towels and cell phone clutches, the vibrant design is like a virtual trip to the panadería that’s simultaneously uplifting and hunger-inducing.

click to enlarge Comida Por Vida - COURTESY OF NO. 9
Courtesy of No. 9
Comida Por Vida
A testament to Garcia’s fascination with New Orleans and legendary voodoo queen Marie Laveau, this dark still-life features a painterly floral arrangement sprouting from an ominous skull vase. Ideal for Goths in self-isolation, it’s captivating to ponder — perhaps extensively as its black background makes it the most challenging puzzle in the lot.

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