Puzzles are not a unique game, but Peter Sibbett and his wife have, Jeannie, have found a way to refresh the old pastime with some Northwest atmosphere added into the mix.
Originally from Korea, Peter, grew up in Indianola, Washington, after being adopted by a family when he was 14 years old. It was during his time at North Kitsap High School that Peter found his passion for photography and capturing pictures of the Pacific Northwest landscape.
Although Peter’s background included operating international glass, window and door manufacturing companies based in Tacoma, Kentucky, Korea and China, his passion led him to create Sibbett Studio, where he crafted hand-turned wooden bowls made from local Pacific Northwest wood.
But it wasn’t until his wife asked him to try something new that his true passions collided.
“My wife was a puzzle fanatic and had done a lot of puzzles,” Peter said of how he started Sibbett Studios. “She asked me to make puzzles out of the leftover wood from making wooden bowls out of lumber.” The result was a success and that’s where the idea started. Jeannie liked it so much that they turned it into a business in 2012.
These aren’t any ordinary puzzles. In thinking of ways to make the puzzles unique for the Northwest area, it was only fitting that Peter integrate his passion for photography into the puzzles. “Photography has always been part of my life since high school,” he said. “So it naturally fit in.” The result was an authentically Northwest handmade product.
And when he found that people’s reaction was, “Wow, this is really great,” he decided to make his endeavor a full time business.
All puzzles are made in the garage of their Tacoma home and the employees are a family affair with Peter, his wife and his four children helping every step of the way. The process starts with a big slab of wood, sourced from salvaged lumber in local areas, mainly from Washington, Oregon and Vancouver Island. The wood is then sliced into thin sheets. Pictures are then overlaid onto the wood and put in a special wooden gift box Peter patented himself, created purely from a block of wood with no glue or hardware.
Currently, they are operating at a full capacity, as two of their children are away at college. Churning out as many as 20 large puzzles a day, Peter and his wife don’t skimp on quality. “Sometimes we don’t sleep and make puzzles all night,” he said.
They also accept custom orders if people want a special keepsake. “Just send us an image and we will scan it,” said Peter. Most orders will take up to two weeks.
The wooden puzzles cost $15-$85 and range in size from 81 pieces at 6.6 x 6.6 inches to puzzles that have 400 pieces and are 18 inches wide and are made of red and yellow cedar, native Northwest trees.
Peter’s passion for the product can be heard in his voice as he speaks about what he does. “There’s a need for every community to have something uniquely their own,” said Peter. And his family doesn’t mind the cedar smell either. “Our home smells like cedar all the time because we are always cutting wood. It’s a nice scent.”
Peter does not operate an online website to sell the puzzles. Instead, he brings these treasures directly to the people and attends local fairs. You can catch him at the Olympia markets and Harbor Days. However, if you would like a custom puzzle, just email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also see the puzzles in person at Mailbox & Gifts located in Seattle and The Island Gallery on Bainbridge Island.