Showing posts with label Berrocal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Berrocal. Show all posts

Monday, January 13, 2020

Dinners at the Millers

Any who have read my posts in the past will know that I have a thing for Berrocal Puzzles.  George and I first used a set in the Netherlands many years ago when it was delivered to us.  Since that first dinner together, we had decided to purchase 3 more set.  Over the years I have managed to obtain 3 cofinettas and one Posateria Veronese.  This means we can have a dinner for 8 people.  
In situ

Pieces broken down
Another decision we made was to only use the sets with other puzzlers.  Since we have moved to Boca, we have had two Berrocal dinners.  This week, that number increased to four.  The first was for our decorator.  Now I know the isn't a puzzler, but she has been so interested in the Berrocal's and has begun to purchase them for her clients.  We knew she would appreciate the service.  

The second was a dinner we had with Nick Baxter and his wife.  They were in Florida for a wedding and found the time to stop by to check out the house and to enjoy a nice dinner with us.  

I take great pleasure in cooking, and believe it or not, washing the dishes after.  The handles of the Berrocal service are so sensual.  It is a joy to wash dishes when you get to feel these.  There is also the added bonus of being able to reassemble the Puzzle when everything is done.  I have sent photos of this to the Berrocal Foundation and they were thrilled that the pieces are 'living art'.  If you have a set, I strongly urge you to make use of it.  It is well worth the time spent polishing and washing.  

Service for 2
An empty table
I hope you enjoy these photos of our last two dinners.

Water and wine goblets
Hostess set

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

FPP 2015

Since I've started this PhD, I've resigned myself to having to travel to Finland once a year (as if that bothers me).  I wait until Conference season and tack it on to that trip to save the wear on my slightly aging body.  Last year I posted on FaceBook that I was going and Tomas Linden  got in touch to say the Finnish Puzzle Party was taking place that week and asked me to join.  I enjoyed it so much, that this year when I planned my trip I contacted him!

First stop Helsinki for a night and of course I had to visit a puzzle shop!    Nothing for me though.  Can you tell how cold it was there?  Next stop Jyväskylä and a bit of intensive study before I headed off to the puzzles.

It was just as fun as last year and there was no disappointment at all.  This year the FPP was located in Turku along the southwest coast of Finland.  It's a very beautiful city and I enjoyed walking around it with my husband.  (Did I fail to mention he came along?)

We first went to a mathematical exhibition at what I think was an art center.  We had a bit of a guided tour, and while most of the items on exhibition I had seen before, we did get into a good discussion about why balls travel faster down different planes, and there was a really cool dice counting thing that I had never seen before.  You dump around 40 dice on the table, roll them then line them up randomly. Start with the first di and count that number.  As you go through the dice, you should end up with a few remainders, discard those, roll the rest again and restart the count.  You will then end up with no remainders.  I don't know what this is called, or why it happens, but it is sooo cool!  I was fascinated by it.  It was also great fun to watch the boys playing with bubbles!

From there we headed off to a school to do a bit of talking and playing with puzzles.  Of course Tomas was selling and I managed to get a few toys myself.  Once again it was a good haul!

I listened to a talk on different shapes and tiles that forgive me, went over my head, but was very interesting.  A icosahedron turned inside out makes 2 cubes.  Is that right?  Gave a short talk on where to buy Berrocals and then went on to puzzle play.  All in all we spent about 4 hours chatting and playing. I brought along the astronaut and sort of forced Vesa to reassemble it.  (I took it apart to show him how easy and different it was from the others I've brought in the past and made him fix it).  Sorry Vesa, but I really take great pleasure from watching people play with them.  (and thank you for the disk!) I brought along my copy of the 69 puzzle an if you count the shoes, you can see how many people it took to solve and reassemble the puzzle.  Good fun!

After we went to a man's house...Sorry, can't remember the name. We puzzled for another 4 or 5 hours, had a late bite to eat and headed home. While there, I managed to find an original price list for the Berrocal's I love so much.  How I wish I had discovered them 20 years ago!

We had some good fun playing with tops and various other what's its.

I can't wait until next year.  I hear it's going to be near a puzzle shop I went crazy in last year!

 Next stop: Copenhagen and a little shop that had to be found and a short visit with Oskar and José.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Le Astronaute

Today i give you yet another Berrocal.
Astronaute hommage á jules verne (1979-1980)
I paid a small fortune for this puzzle, but it was well worth it.  I'd seen it before on the internet and was intrigued.  When fellow puzzler Jim was cataloguing his puzzles, I asked him for a disassembled photo of it.  He obliged and I jumped on the puzzle!  This girl loves her Berrocal's and when it's jewelry!  Even better.

The puzzle consists of 35 pieces.  Sadly, when I received mine 2 of them were missing but it's not a problem. I have already gone to the jewelers and am having them made.  The missing pieces are the holders for the earring balls.  Not a large missing piece and easily replaced thanks to the photos in the book.
Mine is number 308.  I'll be honest, it took me a long time to find the number. I must be blind.  I looked and looked and while chatting with a fellow puzzler just stumbled across it.  Not a noticeable number like on the other Berrocal's I have.   The dimensions follow:

130x162 mm
Head 66x108mm
1000 bronze exemplars, The rings are silver.
200 silver exemplars (I've just been told these have been changed to stainless steel not silvr-thanks Jim) and
6 18k gold exemplars.  It was made using lost-wax molding.  Which is different from the other Berrocal's I have.  The rest are cast.

This puzzle starts out with the removal of three chokers.  After the removal of those comes the removal of 3 bracelets.  After that it pretty much falls apart.  This one isn't a difficult puzzle to take apart or put together, but it was fun every minute of the way.

The next part of the sculpture makes up a divers helmet. Pretty neat. It is pictured to the left in it's stand alone position.

Once the helmet is removed, you can take out the brain and the face. The eyes come out next followed by the cheeks. As I write this, I can't help but think of butchering a human-Hannibal Lector style.  What a horrid thought.  The eyes are 2 silver rings that are enameled and the cheeks are made up of a folding ring.  One side is a moon and the other is the sun  The two pieces have a clasp that holds them together. Both the brain and the face can be worn either as pendants or as charms on the bracelets.  They can also be connected together.

Under the parts of the head, there are a few parts that make up a rocket ship that can take you to the moon.  This puzzle just keeps getting better and better doesn't it.  Pretties to wear AND a rocket!

Below the Rocket base is a set of three round plates.  Each of these can be made into a pendant. These have cylindrical and conical anamorphoses of a male torso which are viewed using special cylindrical and conical mirrors contained within the sculpture.  The mirrors are the upper most parts of the rocket ship shown to the left.

I attempted to photograph the pieces, but I cant do it justice so I've added a photo from the book.

Below you can see the jewelry all put together. The base that the sculpture stands on can be used to hold the 3 pendants.  A very clever design if I've ever seen one.  The genius of Berrocal never ceases to amaze me.  And because of this, I know I'll be hunting down more....

 As a final set of photos, I have put some of the various pieces of jewelry on.  I just love my Berrocals!

As a final treat, thanks to Oli, I've put together a video of the puzzle being put together. It's a bit shaky, and I warn you, it's long!  Enjoy.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

And then there were three

Berrocal Micro's that is.

Anyone who reads my blog and some of the random rubbish I post on Facebook will realize that I have been on a bit of a mission collecting the Berrocal Mini puzzles.  I managed to win Micro-David a few years back and have been looking for Micheline X, Micro-Maria, and Micromento ever since.

Well, I did it.  I found 2 of them!  Both were sold through auction houses recently, and I can now say I have only Micromento to look for.  (I know, I know.  That won't be the end of my collecting, but it will be the completion of the set.)

I was asked if the micro puzzles are the same as the mini puzzles and the answer is yes, but no.  They have a similar outward appearance, but the insides are just a bit different.

The first biggest difference between the micro's and the mini's is the ring. The rings inside each of the micros is a mesh band that can be folded around one of the internal pieces.  In the Mini puzzles, they are a solid banded ring.  The micro rings are a size 6 while the mini's have a 6.5 or 7 depending on the puzzle.

Starting with David, the Mini David has 22 pieces while the micro has only 17.  David was injection molded in 1968, while micro-David-off was made in 1971.

Michelle has 17 pieces while Micheline X has 23.  Michelle was produced in 1969 and Micheline X was made from 1975-1976.

Maria has 23 elements in both the mini and micro edition.  Maria was made in 1968-1969 while the micro version was made in 1973.

These are beautiful additions to any collection.  I highly recommend them to one and all!  I can be seen sporting these puzzles at puzzle parties worldwide, and love to have my friends share the pleasure of taking them apart. If you happen to see me with one, ask and I'll gladly hand it over for disassembly.

For more information on Berrocal, please see his website.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


This is a puzzle I have been hunting for a while.  After I got my micro-David I looked into the other Berrocal's that are wearable. ManyMoreHorses made the top of the list for the next one to buy.

This one is a real beauty.   When she came in the house, she was complete with her box and book.  Everything in the box was beautiful.   The box itself was in fantastic condition. This was a rare treat for me. That usually doesn't happen.  With the box came the book full of different designs that could be made out of the puzzle.  My two favorite things!  Jewelry and puzzles!  HEAVEN!

 When I opened it up, I found not two but three necklaces.  One with 11 pieces on the "Jewel B" and the other two necklaces of two different lengths.  I'm not sure what the lengths are, but the longer of the two is just too long for me but as it turns out, it's the perfect length for David and since my friends have been giving me hell for using a leather cord with him, he's been given a new chain.

No, the pieces are not pink, but my phone case is and there is a reflection.  Aren't they lovely!  A bit about this work of art.  It's not a puzzle, it (they!) really are art pieces.
According to the book that came with the necklace (see how it's now changed) there are "2 separate jewles"The first is a frame of 13 pieces + the ring, and the second is a chain with 11 pendants.  The top photo shows both pieces the lower shows the main piece in a state of confusion (much like it's owner).  You can see two of the "gems" here (lower left). There are 4 of these pieces in total.
(the rings to the left are NOT Berrocal's) The one to the right is pre-cleaning!
Disassembled pendant with "Jewel B"   There are 4 rectangular pieces with Cabochon.  Means nothing to me.  Mine are red and I understand the Mohs scale, but I wish I knew what they were.  A 7 upwards can be just about anything, but I'm guessing it's a garnet that has just been polished.  My disappointment?  You can only see the stones on "Jewel B".  I'm a girl who likes her stones. I only wish you could see the gems in the big piece,but sadly, I just can't work it out....unless....I put the horse upside down....There's a task for next weekend.
Here she is in her full glory!
The nice thing about this is that each piece can be interchanged.  there area a total of 112 different figures that can be made.  I've scanned the book and will play with it often.  So much for keeping a nice shine on this one.  It will be a well loved puzzle!  After all, one buys puzzles to play with, not display.  The book has a total of 20 pages worth of different configurations that can be made.  I don't think I'll be creating them anytime soon, but if you are at IPP, you are more than welcome to take it off me (at the price of a kiss on my right cheek) to play with and reassemble.

Am I happy!  You know it!  

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Some of you have been watching my posts on facebook for the past two days so what you see here is nothing new.  Maybe a bit more detail.  I know this is going to end up being my all time favorite post.  Because these are my all time favorite puzzles.  I'd heard of them before, even saw one or two up for sale on eBay but was never really interested.  Not that is until IPP31 when I was invited to Hendrik Haak's house.  I saw Michelle and fell in love!  With the puzzle, not him.  (Sorry Hendrik, married.)   Since then, I've been wanting to get a Berrocal for a while but there were many other puzzles that were more important.

She doesn't look like much there on the shelf between those two Doreamon puzzles, but there was just something about her that I liked.  That led me on a three year hunt for a set of my own.  Being a collector I couldn't stop at just one.  I needed all 6 in the series.

The Berrocal's are not only puzzles, but they are also beautiful works of art.  And they are fun too.  Each one has a ring inside.  The ring size for the Mini's is a US size 6 (yes, I have a ring sizer at home).  Many of the pieces have some sort f sexual innuendo incorporated into the work.  Some are rather obvious like David's observable penis, others are more subtle, like Maria's internal male genitalia.  I have hunted up and down trying to find these puzzles.  Some I've gotten through eBay, some through art auctions, some through private collectors.  All I love.

My first was Michelle.  I met her and wanted to bring her home.  She was a lucky find.  Really lucky.  Within four months of seeing her, I had my own Michelle winging her way to me.  She arrived on Thanksgiving day 2011.

Michelle has 18 pieces including the plastic base she sits on. She's got a nickel plate on her and stands 13.5 cm tall when on the base.  She came out in 1969.
Like all the other Berrocal Mini's, she has a ring inside.  It's made of enamel and cubic zircona.

My next Berrocal was micro-David.  And my last mini was David.  I'm writing about the two together here because visually, they are the same puzzle, structurally they are very different.  Micro David has become somewhat of a good luck talisman to me.  I wear him every time I present.  If I leave for a talk without him, I've got to return home and pick him up again.  I got this one almost a full year after I bought Michelle.  The final Mini I received came from a Baxterweb auction.  David finally came home!  I have lusted after him for years, and this time I was determined to take him home.  David was by far the most expensive of the Berrocals that I have purchased to date.

Micro david has 18 pieces including the base and stands 7.7 cm tall.  David has 23 pieces and stands 13.5 cm tall. The rings inside are the testicles and penis of the torso.  Not as mundane as Michelle.  Micro David's ring is flexible and is looped around the piece next to it in the photo above.  Interestingly, the ring on Micro David is size 5.5  All the others rings in the minis are a size 6.  The photo above shows Micro David disassembled on the left and Mini David on the right.  Micro David is made of brass while David is Nickel plated. David came out in 1969 and Micro David followed in 1972.

Following Micro David I received Mini Zoraida.  I picked her up about a month after I got micro David.  This is the only Berrocal I have gotten with the box included.  She is in mint condition with only one tiny little flaw.  One of her shoes likes to fall off.  Not that I blame her, I hate wearing heals for any length of time.

 Zoraida is made up of 25 pieces and stands 13.4 cm tall when on the base.  Zoraida is also Nickel plated.  She was first sighted in 1970.

Next up came a very unloved Maria.  I was on a roll this quarter.  3 Berrocals each within a month of each other.  And all three for less than US$500 each.  I won't give exact prices in the event that Mr. Man reads this, but suffice it to say 500 was the most expensive of the last three.  Maria I got off eBay and unfortunately the seller neglected to tell me he lost two of the pieces.  One of them key to the puzzle.  Thanks to Kevin and another friend, I've sent off an email to see if I can't get a replacement part.  (BREAKING NEWS: As I write this post, the Berrocal Foundation has just contacted me with instructions on how to get my missing pieces!  Thank you Kevin and Jim!)

  Maria is made up of 23 pieces (sadly mine has only 21)  She stands 13 cm tall on her base. She is covered in chrome. She hit the market in 1969 along with David and Michelle.

I was good for a while, I waited a few months before I purchased Christina.  She came not from eBay, but an art auction in Florida.  And before you bat your eyes and balk at the price, she was by far the cheapest of the bunch.  Ok.  shipping cost a bit, but overall price.  She was better.  If you are looking for Berrocals, I recommend this route.  Once I got Christina this way I quit looking at eBay and yahoo.  The only fault with Christina is a bit of pitting along her base, and some on her arms.  Again, I can live with this.  

 Christina is the only one of the miniatures that has a letter on the ring.  Christina stands 15.2 cm tall and has 25 pieces.  Christina was released in 1970 as well.  

Following Christina I obtained Mini Cariatide.  She came to me in lovely condition.  No book, no box.  But very well taken care of.  Her previous owner loved her like I do.  Cariatide is also special because she was the last of the multiples for me.  Remember, at this time I had micro-David.  

 Cariatide, like Maria, is chrome plated.  She stands 16 cm tall and is made up of 26 pieces.  She came out in 1969.

Which brings me to my last two Berrocal purchases.  I managed to win an auction of Alexandre, but sadly, there is no key that is needed to open him up.  I can't wait to get one because he has not one, but NINE rings inside.  All I can show you is Himself in his solved state.  Once I get that key, expect  blog  post on him.  Alexandre is relatively new coming out in 1976.  

The final purchase has made me most happy.  Again, it is an auction win.  This one I placed a bid on and went to sleep.  At the end of the day, she's just slightly more expensive than Alexandre and is now being packaged and shipped to me.  I can only give you photos from the auction house.  I eagerly await her coming home to me.  And for those of you going to IPP.  Well, you can expect to see me sporting her next August.  ManyMoreHorses was released in 1982.

 I leave you with a final photo of all my toys.  2 years and 2 months later, I have found the full set.  Next up?  Manolete or Romeo and Juliette...