This week’s pick is pretty obvious. There’s been so many things written about Jim Henson, that there’s no possible way I could do him justice. I will however speak about one thing that I never hear discussed about his personal style.
Like Iris Apfel, Jim Henson’s work tended to be very maximalist. His sets were always cluttered with details that may never show up in the final cut of the film. The man was a master world builder, and his attention to detail created worlds that seemed thick with context and back story.
I spent my childhood in upstate New York near West Point, and I also grew up with Jim Henson’s creations shaping my mind. One thing I remember from my childhood is how multifaceted and deep the world seemed to be. If you dig through the dead autumn leaves and the soft rich soil of Cornwall, NY, there was a pretty good chance you’d find an old coin, or a button from a revolutionary war coat. Maybe you’d find the remnants of a cobalt blue bottle that medicine used to come in.
I just remember finding things everywhere I went as a kid. And now I live out west, in the deserts of Arizona, where the soil is so hard no one has any basements. But I still vividly remember the feeling of living on top of layers of history. I remember the distinct sense of infinite worlds living under my feet. If I just dug down far enough, would I find a dinosaur? Or the entrance into Fraggle Rock?
Maybe I don’t have the same sense of wonder because, unlike being a child, my knees crack and ache when I bend over and my head is just so far above the earth. I spend my time looking up and forward or at my cell phone screen. I don’t spend any time on my hands and knees digging in dirt for old treasure.
Jim Henson really embraced a creative spirit and freedom when it came to interior design that I wish more people today had. Everyone is so afraid to make their homes look lived in and yet, if you look at the set of Sesame Street, even though it’s not a real place, it’s dripping with history.
Your home shouldn’t be perfect and pristine. It should show evidence of a life lived inside it. The less perfect everything is, the more human and relatable it becomes. Your home should be a reflection of you and your life. I feel like I say this every week. But don’t just take my word for it.
The most compelling places aren’t white and clean. They’re cluttered and dingy and warm. They’re alive and they look lived in.
Jim Henson instilled a feeling of boundless wonder in me as a child and for that alone he’s this weeks Bachelor Uncle of the Week. Let the music play.