Deep Dive: Her Journey by Gaia Orion

Posted by Jasen Robillard on

Her Journey by Gaia Orion - StumpCraft Puzzle

Artist: Gaia Orion
Puzzle Design: Siri Olson
Dimensions: 27.5 cm x 27.5 cm
Piece Count: 286
Difficulty: 2 out of 5

“Her life is a series of cycles within each other. She is experiencing, learning, growing each day as well as through monthly moon cycles, seasons passing and stages of life.” 

- Gaia Orion, on ‘Her Journey’

About the Artist

Gaia Orion has gained international recognition and received awards of excellence, including awards from the Manhattan Arts International and the Eurasian Art Union in Russia. She has exhibited in Paris, New York, San Francisco, Toronto and Moscow; as well as in Mexico, Columbia, Spain, Germany, Hungary and Bali. Her artwork has been featured in over 100 different publications in Canada, USA, France, UK, Taiwan and China; with 25 cover pages and numerous articles and interviews. She has been the curator for European Integral conferences and the Global Mindful Institute events. She is a founding member of the Toronto Association for Transformational Leaders and a member of its affiliated New York chapter.

"The vibrant tones, intricate delicate lines and small meticulous brushstrokes of my oils on canvas speak about the core of human existence through cross-cultural symbology. Simple figurations reveal ecstatic expressions of an empowered feminine, touching anyone who is on a journey to be an integrated wholistic being. Contemplative spirals and circles evoke the cyclical unfolding process of life and call us to be agents of change in our personal and collective lives." - Gaia

Gaia is originally from Paris, France, where she studied and graduated with honours as an architect. She now lives with her family in the wilds north of Toronto, focused on creating transformational art for the blossoming of human spirit.


Gaia Orion's Artist Website

Gaiai Orion's Instagram Profile

Gestalt psychologist Claudia Dommaschk, on embracing change and the natural cycles of nature. 

NASA's 2024 Eclipse Interactive Map & Info

Gaia's Interview on Voices with Vervaeke, the video that originally connected Gaia & Jasen.


Siri's Puzzle Design Notes

The spiral is a deep, rich and ancient symbol. Historically, it has been a symbol of femininity, seasonal cycles, and life ever-expanding. It also symbolically represents creativity rising from within.

In both the puzzle design and Gaia's art, the center of the spiral reflects how we often race through childhood, eager to leap ahead into the unknown. In the spring time of our youth. it may be easier to walk our journey with joy and whimsy. The simplicity of childhood is captured in the puzzle’s easier-to-solve inner core and very concrete object locks (like the butterfly or the lightning bolt).

But as time passes, as we journey deeper around the spiral, we face disorienting realizations: every route & direction brings worlds of possibilities. As one grows around the spiral, piece size shrinks and locks become more disorienting in their reliance on the pieces around them. The spiral widens, mimicking the experience of how one’s perspective also widens with experience and age. In time and as the seasons unfold, we must face where we come from, who we are, and who we will become.

Her Journey by Gaia Orion - StumpCraft Puzzle

The placement of pieces within my art is often deeply intentional. In this design, the whimsies follow a similar transformation-filled journey around the spiral. The acorn becomes an oak tree, and the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. There are also a few faces hidden within the puzzle design. One of them looks upon a young mother and child—watching over them, as an ancestor might do. Another face along the puzzle’s right edge holds one of the Earth’s tiniest and most fragile creatures. 

Many of my chosen whimsies have a figure echoed in the artwork. For example, the chrysalis is anchored by a figure at rest within; the sapling is rooted in the wisdom of the elder. Those echoed shapes are meant as reminders of our ongoing transformations. We are not separate from world we inhabit; rather, "Mother Nature" shows us how to be alive. 

I've included a few simple hidden whimwhams in this puzzle for you. The solar eclipse is an awe-inducing moment of the moon’s travels and rhythms. Recently, I travelled to Ayer’s Cliff, Québec to witness the April 2024 total solar eclipse. It was a travel plan that had been in the works for several years, and it did not disappoint. As a timestamp for the puzzle design, I included an eclipse whimwham. When resting vertically upon its stable base, this whimwham accurately represents the “diamond ring” appearance of the iconic moment of totality.

In two other whimwhams, the final stages of life are shown in a leafless oak tree and a butterfly. On a simpler level, they stand as is. However true to life, with a little more work searching for the missing pieces, they will evolve into a fuller version of themselves. The butterfly whimwham explodes into colour, and the oak tree becomes full and vibrant with leaves.

Hidden Tree Whimwham in Her Journey by Gaia Orion

On her website, Gaia speaks of “the beauty and intelligence of nature.” Spirals exude this inherent beauty and intelligence. I hope that in piecing together Her Journey, you will appreciate “life as a wholistic unfolding".

Whimsy List

  • 3x Earthworms
  • Sun
  • Spiral Goddess
  • Acorn
  • Oak Sapling
  • Oak Tree
  • Caterpillar
  • Human Chrysalis
  • Butterfly
  • Total Eclipse

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