(Originally posted in "Occasions and Holidays as a "brainstorming" idea)
Not sure how this idea occurred to me, but I somehow have decided that the perfect gift for my mother this year is a pincushion...design ed to look like a brain. She's a former alterationist and spends a lot of time sewing...she also occasionally has a twisted sense of humour (which I've inherited, apparently), so I like the idea of a stuffed, squishable brain, about the size of a fist, that she can stick her pins and needles in. I was thinking I'd glue it to a rather pretty, gilded dish. maybe even use some slightly translucent nail polish to simulate blood...
but how on earth could I make a half-decent stuffed brain?
it would be nice if it weren't too involving, expensive or time-consuming, as there's a great chance she hate it (we are sadly beyond the phase of "anything my daughter hand-crafts is sacred"). better still if it had the separate hemispheres and ridges. I'd like to spend about five hours on it, tops, but I'm open to spending more time if it's a really terrific, workable idea.
(don't worry--I have other gift ideas that are much more Mom-appropriate--it's only fitting that someone get her back for her years of gag gifts)
so, I did end up making the pincushion.
I had wanted to go with the upholstery trim idea, but was unable to find any at the fabric store. Also, when studying photos of real brains, I realised that a lot of the shapes and coagulations of the brain couldn't really be reprdroduced with tube--some of them were "t" shaped, for instance.
What I ended up doing instead was buying a styrofoam cube (aproximately 4"x4") and carving it down until it was roughly the size and shape of a brain.
I further smoothed and sculpted that styrofoam, to make it even more brainy looking, with a division for the hemisphers.
Then, using an assortment of makeshift tools (inkpens, orange sticks, plastic chop sticks) I "sculpted" the styrofoam--basically, I'd poke a deep ridge in the styrofoam with one of my tools, then round it using the orange stick and the soft pads of my fingertips. The key was to follow a picture of a real brain as closely as possible.
I then put on a few layers of my acryllic paint--enough to make it look less porous and glued the whole contraption onto a nice china dish that I'd gotten at goodwill.
Mom looked perplexed at first. I think once she figured out how much loving effort was involved, she decided to love it. Whether or not she truely does, I'm not sure. I guess I'll see if she proudly displays it on her desk or table...
Being made of styrofoam, if it gets much use, it probably won't last as long as if it were made of felt or stuffed or something. I figure it'll last as long as it needs to.http://harnishcentral.tripod.com/craftster_baby/brain_front.jpghttp://harnishcentral.tripod.com/craftster_baby/brain_left.jpghttp://harnishcentral.tripod.com/craftster_baby/brain_top.jpg
She didn't really like my mis-using her naitivity figures like this...I insisted that the nativity clan weren't worshipping the poor brain, just staggered with astonishment over it...http://harnishcentral.tripod.com/craftster_baby/brain_nativity.jpg