BEAUTIFUL BRAINS. To neuroscience researchers, the human brain is a complex organ riddled with mystery. But to developmental psychologist Marjorie Taylor and psychiatrist Karen Norberg, it's also an inspiration for unique quilts, knitting, and other work that they showcase in an online museum of "scientifically accurate fabric brain art."
The two were drawn to the niche independently. Taylor (right), a professor at the University of Oregon, Eugene, had been making quilts on the side for years before she turned her needle to neuroscience. Struck by the cover images of journals like Cerebral Cortex, she began reproducing them in fabric, creating pieces that--for example--show positron emission tomography scans of the brain's response to hearing or seeing words.
Karen Norberg (left), who works at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says she began knitting a brain (above) to kill time when she was undergoing clinical training in child psychiatry. The product now resides at the Boston Museum of Science.
"Building a brain with yarn and knitting needles turns out to follow many of the same pathways as actual brain development," says Norberg. Her and Taylor's work can be seen at harbaugh.uoregon.edu/Brain/index.htm.