Jacks Journal: Matchstick Puzzle

When I first saw the collection of his work, I was amazed.  A simple guy, with the patience of Job.

“I like jigsaw puzzles, and this is just one step up. Only thing is I gotta cut the pieces and make them fit,” said Floyd Tanner, a matchstick artist.

And cut he does, there’s the Taj Mahal, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower. They are everywhere.  He’s been at it for almost 20 years.  How long does it take to create one of these pieces? Like a jigsaw, he takes his time.

“That’s a question that they are asking me all the time.  I couldn’t tell ya because it’s just, I’m just spending my time.  Like I would any puzzle, I just sit down and work on it.  I forget what time it is,” said Floyd.

He does buy match sticks minus the match head, so that saves some time. But he glues everything together one stick at a time.  All moving pieces move, wheels spin, shovel arms shovel.  His first creation was the “sidewinder” riverboat.  He has won ribbons at the Northwest Michigan Fair for his work, but other than that none of this has ever been displayed.

“I hide them because I’ve got no place to put them out.  So they are in my closet,” said Floyd.

He is very careful with them as they are fragile. He’s been offered money for some, but they aren’t for sale.  He gets his ideas from looking at pictures, no patterns or plans. Just a keen eye and a steady hand.  His current project is a rear paddle riverboat, projected date of completion, none given.

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