Deep Dive: Feline Tessellation by Cedarfell

Posted by Jasen Robillard on

Find the cat

Artists: Cedarfell
Puzzle Design: Jasen Robillard
Dimensions: 33 cm x 42.5 cm
Piece Count: 603
Difficulty: 5 out of 5

"When I play with my cat, how do I know that she is not passing time with me rather than I with her."

- Michel de Montaigne (1533-92)

About the Artists

Cedarfell is a collaboration between two West coast artists: Aryn Bowers and Sandra Mejia Posada. For each of their prints and stickers, Aryn initiallly sketches the adorably cute animal tessellations and then inks each piece within the broader pattern. Sandra then adds the colour, texture and finishing details to give each animal a little more character and personality. Each of their nature-inspired creations invites us to explore the wildlife within. They live and create on beautiful Gabriola Island in BC, Canada.


Cedarfell Etsy Stickers

Cedarfell Artist Website

Shop: Cedarfell - Feline Tessellation


Jasen's Puzzle Design Notes

With every new puzzle design, I either attempt to refine a technique or explore in a new direction.

In 2023 I focussed nearly entirely on hidden, complex whimwhams as in the Reilly Fitzgerald Trio, or in Queen Bee. These brought an extra layer of complexity and discovery to the puzzles.

When I started Feline Tessellation in August of 2023, I decided to pursue a reversal in my usual design process. Normally I start with ‘whimsy’ brainstorming and sketching. With Feline Tessellation, I instead decided to start with the non-whimsy pieces. In fact, I drew all the random squiggly cutlines before any whimsy. The only exception? The central hidden begging cat which would eventually form a 90-piece whimwham.

A few whimsies naturally emerged from the design process, breaking my preset rule (specifically the 2x birds, fish, dolphin & dog). Thereafter, I drew dozens of mice and cat whimsies and then placed them in appropriate places across the canvas. The final step was modifying or replacing the lines I’d previously drawn in the areas now covered by mice and cats. I’m not sure I like that extra step!

"The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings."
Kakuzo Okakura

The result is a puzzle that pleasantly surprised and challenged me. Surprising in that it felt like a different StumpCraft experience: complex colour sorting, black borders to give you a bit an edge, some 5-tree line cutting, and plenty of catlike tails to help and sometimes hinder your progress. If you like beautiful, challenging puzzles, I think you’ll enjoy this one.

Finally, I’ll leave you with an excerpt from Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life by John Gray. I found it in our little free library on one of my regular neighbourhood saunters.

"As in human beings, the good life in cats depends on their virtues. Aristotle pointed out that someone lacking in prudence cannot thrive no matter what other virtues they may possess: whatever they do will come to nothing. Similarly, a cat that is forever fearful cannot live well. Whether in the wild or in human settlements, a cat's life is dangerous. Courage is as much a feline virtue as it is a human one. Without it, neither cats nor humans can thrive.

A good life for any living thing depends on what it needs to fulfill its nature. The good life is relative to this nature, not to opinion or convention. As Pascal observed, human beings are unusual in having a second nature formed by custom, along with the nature they have when they are born. It is natural for them to mistake their second nature for the first, and many who lived by the customs of their societies have lived badly as a result. Mistaking their own nature is not a habit of cats."

A clowder of StumpCraft cat whimsies

Whimsy List

  • A clowder of cats (31, including 3x small whimwham cats)
  • A mischief of mice (6)
  • 1x BIG cat
  • 2x birds
  • fish
  • dolphin
  • dog

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