While developing my idea for a hand cushion that simulates a hug, I ran across some trouble with scale and proportion. I wanted the hand shape to be softened and moulded to the shape of a sleeping person for comfort. However, I also wanted to include a way for the hand to be used as a cradle for babies, which in itself has it’s own design needs. I never realized how dangerous it was for babies to sleep in an inappropriate bed, what with the danger of turning and suffocating, becoming trapped under the pillow, or slipping into a dangerous position.
To help me find the right scale for the cushion, and a shape suitably molded both to adult and infant body shapes, I made a small prototype using Super Sculpey modelling clay. I included small figures of a baby and a mother in roughly the correct proportions to help me visualize the way the cushion could be used
The models helped me visualize my design, in particular the areas that need to be altered. When I was making the models, my design for the cushion was still quite large, impractically so, and the long thin fingers needed to be shortened and rounded for a more welcoming appearance. Having read about parents raising the height of a babies head to help with Colic and congestion, I decided to raise the fingertips to form a slight incline – useful for babies and comfortable for adults.
I also decided to keep the clay unbaked, as the dual use of my design is made possible by a flexible tail part that can be moved depending on the user, so I wanted to keep the model flexible. It meant that the model is rough, with new dents and fingerprints added all the time but it still works perfectly as a visual reference when drawing or modelling from unusual angles