Kagen Schaefer

Kagen Schaefer may be the only person in this world who has the ability to make me excited about math. Before my recent visit to Kagen’s studio, I’d never witnessed firsthand the beauty that can be produced by carefully calculated equations. Besides watching Vanessa Gould’s breathtaking documentary Between the Folds, my exposure to the art of science was limited.

Kagen is a puzzle artist whose mind creates mathematical problems that he then turns into artwork . Since 2002, he has created numerous wooden boxes, tables and cases for clients around the world.

Snake Box

What I find most impressive is that he has turned his passion into his livelihood; creating puzzles is not just a hobby for Kagen, he lives off his creations and runs his studio as a business.

When I visited Kagen at Ironton, he showed me some of the pieces that he’s currently working on, we talked coffee (he roasts his own and typically brews by using a French press) and I learned that the movie Goonies was his go-to whenever he was home sick as a kid (which may or may not have subconsciously influenced one of the pieces he’s currently working on). Watch this video for a tour of Kagen’s studio:

I make these videos because I love learning about people’s passions and I enjoy connecting people to people by sharing their stories. While researching coffee (my own obsession) over the past four years, I discovered that many creatives in this world rely on coffee as a drug; they love what it does to their brain and how it serves as a catalyst for their creativity.

Coffee is complex, so are people. Drink up.

I really enjoyed talking to Kagen, because although we’ve known each other for years, this visit was the first time I fully understood how complex of a character he is—similar to the Hartmann Geisha coffee that he’s been drinking lately, which has layers upon layers of superb characteristics.

The Lotus Table


Pipe Organ Desk

To learn more about Kagen, visit his website.

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