With a name like that, you’d expect this traveling shop to be something out of the Mutter Museum. No, you won’t find flesh in jars of formaldehyde, rather something bred of flesh and spirit that’s made into tokens of the modern arts. Guitar strings that have been beaten and broken down by local artist are twisted, spiraled and capped by tokens, coins and tiny gears from all over the world.
These steampunk trinkets are handmade by local artist Maureen Mullaley of Massachusetts. Maureen, or “Mo” as she’s commonly called, started the cornerstone of Inside My Cranium near the end of August 2013.
“I always preferred to sit and draw or imagine the day away [when I was] a kid,” said Mo. “I sat in my studio, played with strings and beads and random stuff hanging around. I put a picture on Facebook and a friend in Texas said she [would] pay for my creations.”
In the course of a weekend, more people on social media would buy her creations. It didn’t take long for her to find purpose for her passion. On April Fool’s day of 2014, Mo went to her local city hall and made it official.
As with many artists, their best works start from somewhere else. For Mo, bracelets developed from much larger ideas.
“Some friends had strings hanging around and I originally wanted to crochet with them,” said Mo. “I had grand ideas of beautiful metal curtains. That was a fail and I ruined some nice crochet hooks, too! (laughs) I quickly moved onto different ideas like a plant hanger — a more modern version of the ’60s macramé. (It) worked well, but how many of those can you make?”
It wasn’t until after she bugged enough of her friends that she was handed a coiled guitar string. Within two hours, she created the first of many bracelets. Since then her methods and styles have evolved.
“I’m trying to constantly improve my work. I love working with vintage foreign coins,” said Mo. “I bought a huge drill press just for them.”
Weekly, Mo can be found around local guitar shops, collecting stashes of used strings: guitar, bass, violin, mandolin, autoharp and more! Laced through those strings, one can find coins and tokens from all over the world.
“I love vintage foreign coins and all the stories behind them from the people who share them,” said Mo. “[One person on social media] came to me with over 100 foreign coins and tokens and said she was an Icelandic Air stewardess!”
Since her creations have taken a life of their own, so do the new methods and materials. Mo loves collecting “skeleton keys, key plates, cameos, watch parts,” and other trinkets.
“It’s like a challenge and learning experience,” said Mo. “My clients give me inspiration.”
You can follow the latest creations and find out where you can purchase them in person at facebook.com/InsideMyCranium.