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Joan Steiner

"I got started doing puzzles when I was working as a free-lance magazine illustrator, Steiner says. An editor challenged me to come up with some sort of puzzle or game. I had always flirted with the idea of one thing looking like another, and here was an opportunity to take it to the max and make a whole little world where everything actually was something else. People ask me where I get my ideas, she adds, and I really have to say that I dont know. Sometimes I have a eureka moment when something hits me out of the blue. Driving down the road one day, I saw a cement mixer and suddenly it hit me plastic mustard jar! Another time, while cooking dinner, I noticed that the lasagna noodles looked a lot like frilly draperies; that eventually led me to construct a parlor scene. Other times, I really have to work hard for my ideas. I spend hours and hours shopping, going up and down the aisles of stores, and I may spend ten minutes inspecting a mousetrap or a cheese curl, turning it every which way, trying to see if it would work.

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