Puzzle Designer: Jasen Robillard
Dimensions: 45.5 cm x 30 cm
Piece Count: 550
Difficulty: 4 out of 5
Proceeds from the sales of this puzzle support Mountain Muskox Mentorship Program. This community-led organization has a mission to help individuals who have experienced loss or trauma while recreating and working in the mountains. They pursue this mission through shared vulnerability, care and common understanding in professionally facilitated peer-group circles. Mountain Muskox are continuing to seek donations to help build and grow this peer-support resource for the Bow Valley and other mountain communities. $5 from each puzzle sold will be donated. Additional donations can be made through their partnership with the Alpine Club of Canada.
Sharon Lynn Williams has been passionately painting in diverse media and subjects for over 35 years. After a long studio career, Sharon Lynn’s passion shifted to ‘plein air’ painting where she could more aptly use all of her senses to absorb the full landscape of her experience. In returning to her experimentation with acrylics, she attempts to capture the visual landscape as well as the feel of the breeze, the smell of the earth and foliage, and the sounds of nature onto the canvas. Her new aesthetic focuses on a limited amount of very interesting shapes; strong decisive brush marks; inventive, pushed, and graded color; ﬂattening of the picture plane; pattern, and strong value contrasts. All of which lend themselves well to puzzle media!
Sharon Lynn has earned signature status in the Federation of Canadian Artists (AFCA) and the International Plein Air Painters (IPAP). She offers art mentoring through Mastrius (along with several Canadian artists, including Julie deBoer). Her work can be seen in person at the Leighton Art Centre and Lineham House Galleries.
Lightly watermarked reference image
Note, reference images are watermarked to prevent unauthorized printing of our artist's work, as well as copycat puzzles which have become common since 2020.
Sharon Lynn Williams Artist Website
Mountain Muskox Mentorship Program
“The hardest climb” by Eva Holland, online and in the May 2022 print issue of Maclean’s magazine
Not Alone - The film, featured as an Official Selection of the 2021 Banff Film Festival documents Arc’teryx athlete Sarah Hueniken’s intense journey from digging her close friend out of a fatal avalanche to finding new reasons to live and love again.
Support the Mountain Muskox Mentorship Program via charitable donations to the Alpine Club of Canada.
Climbing Fool’s Hill
All Trails Guide: Mount Rundle / Waskahigan Watchi
Puzzle Design Notes
I was first introduced to Mountain Muskox Mentorship Program when founding member Janet McLeod reached out to us in July 2021. She explained how a group of psychologist clinicians, world famous alpinists, rock and ice climbers, ultra marathoners, ecologists, ski patrollers and other Bow Valley community members had come together specifically to help those who had been impacted by mountain tragedies. She further confided that after discovering our puzzles, she was promoting and using them as interventions for anxiety and nervous system regulation.
Mountain Muskox subsequently received additional national exposure through the documentary ‘Not Alone’, which was featured as an Official Selection at the 2021 Banff Film Festival. Not Alone, explores Mountain Muskox Executive Director Sarah Hueniken’s journey to recovery from a critical incident, and sheds light on the founding of the group as part of her healing process. Even more national exposure was achieved through a fantastic feature article in the May 2022 issue Macleans Magazine, “The hardest climb” by Eva Holland.
Janet and I met face-to-face in February 2022 to discuss how StumpCraft could help raise awareness & funds for the Mountain Muskox Mentorship Program. After exploring a few ideas, I felt that Sharon Lynn Williams’ iconic “A Different Glory” would be the perfect fit. The art and the mental health cause would inspire and fuel my design process.
As per my usual method, I followed my interests and instincts to uncover thematic influences for the puzzle before designing any pieces. An easy start with landscape puzzles set in a specific location is to add in fauna and flora that match the depicted ecosystem. Aside from the Mountain Muskox, all of the animal whimsies relate to fauna that can be found around Banff and Vermillion Lakes.
As for the three arctic muskox whimsies, they are included as a tie-in to the Mountain Muskox logo and the circling that is a core part of their peer support. According to Sarah:
“Muskox actually form a barrier or shield in front of their young, their wounded or their weak to protect them. When you’ve experienced trauma or grief, you do need to be looked after and held close by your community.”
Influenced by my chat with Sharon Lynn in June 2022 about her experience painting ‘A Different Glory’, I wanted to impart a sense of place to the puzzle. Puzzle pieces and locks were designed to mimic the starkly contrasting elements and equally glorious parts of the mountain scene: smooth reflecting waves and ripples in the water, bushy grasses giving way to deciduous trees and evergreens, sharp blocky rocks beyond the tree line, and finally the soft billowy yet tumultuously chaotic clouds in the sky. I personally love how this adds to the enjoyment of sifting and sorting the pieces at the onset of solving this puzzle.
Incidentally, Sharon and I also connected on our respective paths as parents and the challenges of getting our children beyond Fool’s Hill, a new-to-me metaphor about adolescence. I quickly looked up the expression and found this wonderful article by Carl E. Pickhardt. If you’re going to do some tough climbing or scrambling (say for example up Mount Rundle), it can be useful to study a good map beforehand!
I also felt it necessary to spend some time familiarizing myself with the setting of Sharon’s art. I dug into the history of Banff, Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these sacred places had different names not so long ago. Rundle prior to 1858, was known to the Cree as Waskahigan Watchi (House Mountain), and Sulphur Mountain was known to the Stoney Nakoda as Mînî Rhuwîn (Spiritual Mountain).
These indigenous names brought me full circle to the indigenous influence that informs Janet’s therapy practice and Mountain Muskox’s peer-support, specifically Poo'miikapii: Niitsitapii (Blackfoot) Approaches to Wellness. This approach is centered in ways of knowing, being, and doing in relation to poo'miikapii (harmony, balance, unity):
- aksistoiypaittapiisini (being resourceful in the face of challenges);
- iskaipima (guiding people onto a better path) in service, provision and education; and
- iihpkim mootspi (passing on the teachings one has received) through community-based programs and organizational development.
No matter the challenge, grief or trauma you’ve faced or are currently wrestling with, I hope that this puzzle offers you a grounding activity where you can once again find inner harmony, balance and unity. Putting puzzle pieces together acts as a personal reminder that unity in the bigger picture remains possible.
The Mountain Muskox Mentorship Program is continuing to seek donations to help build and grow this peer-support resource for the Bow Valley and other mountain communities. Donations can be made through the Alpine Club of Canada.
5x Rock Climbers
3x Mountain Muskox
Stand-up paddle boarder
Sulphur Mountain Gondola
4x Canadian Geese