Oak City Hustle: Eric Fuller / Puzzled

Source: Oak City Hustle Magazine - November 2015
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Author: DJ Spclgst

Have you ever run into someone or something that just blows your mind? That eccentric uniqueness that totally inspires you and just stops you in your tracks with an overwhelming feeling of “WOW!” Maybe it’s a piece of art,  the wisdom of an old man that can tell you one hell of a story, or just and overall conversation that just grabs your attention. This past week I encountered an extraordinary person who made me feel all the above.  I want to introduce Eric Fuller the humble puzzle making mastermind of Cubic Dissection.

As a kid I would have to say my first encounter with a puzzle would have to be with a Rubix cube. I would spend hours trying get all the colors all on one side. Eventually I would get so frustrated, peel the stickers off, place them on crooked and call it a day. After meeting Eric I gained a whole new understanding of the level of intricacy in puzzles that he is creating  These are not your Nana’s Kmart store bought plastic trash puzzles, but instead are beautifully crafted works of art. Each puzzle is cut with a precision with regards to dimensions and custom fit.  It is finely and beautifully crafted to perfection with domestic and exotic woods.

Ten years ago Eric got his start like any enthusiast with the introduction of a hobby. His love of woodworking and piecing together parts to craft a whole project eventually snowballed into a lifestyle of solving and collecting.  After studying how each of these were built, he decided to take it upon himself to try and make his own. Through problem solving and multiple trips to home depot, he is now one of the top tier puzzle makers in the world.  When I say one of them, I mean one of about seven!!  This niche community is filled with people of all ages and skill levels. Some of Eric’s best clients are doctors, lawyers, and physicists. These pieces range from all different sizes, shapes, wood choices, price ranges and levels of difficulty. They can take up to a month to build.

Now after spending the afternoon with Eric I learned a few more things about these puzzles.  The one thing that stuck with me the most, and I have thought about since I met Eric, is that a good design doesn’t have to be difficult. A good design needs to be clever and humorous.  The more you study these works of art, you can understand how simple, intricate, and intelligent each piece is all at the same time. Eric was kind enough to give me a few pieces to solve for myself.  Even though they say simplicity trumps complexity, I must admit, I’ve been banging my head on the coffee table ever since and these puzzles are still quite puzzling and challenging to me!

With all this being said, I once again met someone that has absolutely blown my mind.  He says, “he’s not an artist, but a woodworker/craftsman.” The hell you say?!  What you do is a work of art, my man!!


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