And if I were to do this without T-Splines, I’d take an 8-week course to master ZBrush so that I could easily approach this from a hard-surface sculpting angle.
But short of that, I’ve rebooted my rMBP from Windows to OS X to see how far cage editing takes me before ol’ sandman drops his sack on me for the night…
Two curves to very roughly approximate the stovetop headboard. Command-J to create a closed curve.
Solid > Extrude Planar Curve > Straight
Solid > Filet Edge to soften the form. Could stand to increase the filet radius more.
Transform > Cage Editing > Create Cage to mark off a cage surrounding the previous extrusion.
XYZ Point Counts of 40, 10, 30 respectively. Use denser or sparser point counts as you like. All those points won’t show up just yet.
Transform > Cage Editing > Cage Edit will ask to Select captive objects… the filleted extrusion. Select control object is the cue to click the previously created cage. Cage and polygon object are now intertwined and all the point counts show up. Select using a variety of methods; marquee select, shift-select, etc and use the gumball manipulator or nearly anything under the Transform menu.
Upper bowed section had a Transform > Bend with symmetry applied. Lower dimple was my FIRST TIME playing with the Transform > Soft Move function. Getting it to work the way I wanted involved judiciously selecting the starting point along with assist from the Ortho and Planar toggles. I suppose if there was even more complexity, I’d attempt to see if Transform > Orient > On Surface would get certain selected points to align with pre-made sweeps. Edit > Control Points Off turns off the cage.
For the two boomerangs inside the dimple, I’d probably try cutting the surface with the shapes and use a much more local targeted Cage Edit in only that region… then maybe heal it with a surface blend… or… mayb…