Krystal Cotriss

Krystal Cotriss

What's your name?
Krystal Cotriss

Where are you based?
Baltimore, MD (USA)

Tell us about what your ordinary day looks like.
I am an award-winning graphic and web designer, typography enthusiast, puzzle addict, and penguin lover! I work as a full-time Creative Manager at Barcoding, a supply chain & automation company. In my average day, I work on all kinds of projects—social media campaigns, website design, email marketing, event management, branding, and pretty much anything else design & marketing. Occasionally, I also work as a freelance designer. One of my favorite client projects was working with Le Puzz to create gifs for Instagram.

When work ends for the day, I work on my puzzles! On weekends, I generally spend most of my weekends puzzling and making puzzle-related content.

How did you get into the world of puzzling?
I remember putting together jigsaw puzzles as a child—maybe around age 10 (2006), my Dad had some Looney Tunes puzzles from the 90s and some other random puzzles, one I remember being a Coca-Cola Polar Bear puzzle. I have the Looney Tunes puzzles in my collection now and I can't wait to complete them again for the first time in nearly 20 years.

I then got into puzzling more around 2017. I remember watching a lot of Karen Kavett DIY videos and then eventually her Karen Puzzles YouTube channel. Once I knew there were all sorts of fun and new jigsaw puzzles and brands, it didn't take me long to start loving jigsaw puzzles again. Karen Puzzles was a huge influence, eeBoo was one of the first jigsaw puzzles I started to collect in 2020.

Flash forward to today, I collect all sorts of new and vintage puzzles and I have collected over 600 puzzles! Some of my favorite brands are Soonness, Ravensburger, eeBoo, Piecework, Cloudberries, Le Puzz, Rifle Paper Co., Springbok, Art & Fable, Wentworth, Different Puzzles, Elena Essex Puzzles, White Mountain, Galison, and Great American Puzzle Factory.

What makes you keep puzzling & how often do you puzzle?
Puzzling feels so good to my soul. As a graphic designer, completing jigsaw puzzles is one of my favorite activities because it helps to practice my color perception/theory. It also just helps me to relax after a long day of work. Puzzling is my passion that's for sure!

I complete about 1-3 jigsaw puzzles in a week—I mostly puzzle in the evenings after work and on the weekends. It depends on how busy the week is, I would puzzle every day of the week if I could. The worst part is taking the puzzle apart when it's done—once I complete a puzzle, it's usually just sitting in my living room for at least a week.

What is your favorite type of puzzles?
I love colorful, gradient, illustrative, and collage-style puzzles the best. I find myself often puzzling 500-piece and 1000-piece count puzzles. I love a traditional ribbon cut (such as Ravensburger) and random cuts like Soonness, Springbok, and Le Puzz! Random cut is probably my favorite, I enjoy chunky, large, and funky-shaped pieces.

During puzzling sessions, do you listen to anything or puzzle in silence?
Most of the time when I puzzle, I watch some of my favorite YouTubers (Karen Puzzles, Defunctland, Bright Sun Films, Dan Bell, I did a thing, Scott Cramer, Ted Nivison, Eddy Burback, The Sorry Girls, blameitonjorge) or sometimes I watch a movie. When I am speed puzzling, I listen to my house music speed puzzling playlist!

If you were to describe what puzzling means to you, what would it be?
Puzzling is a way for me to decompress after a long day of work—it's such a relaxing activity I couldn't live without.

Tell us about your other interests & joys.
When I'm not puzzling, I love listening to house music, collecting Target birds and Squishables, and exploring and going on nature walks with her husband, James. My favorite animals are penguins, raccoons, and manatees. I also love to spend time with our cat, Asher, a very fluffy Nebelung kitty!

Do you have anything you want to share?
Follow me on Instagram and/or YouTube! My Instagram page has tons of gorgeous puzzle-related photos! From crisp and clear close-ups of puzzles I'm working on, to puzzle pick-up challenge posts, and giveaways, there is lots of fun puzzling going on. I will be speed-puzzling at USA Jigsaw Nationals this March! Can't wait to meet all of my puzzle friends IRL.

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