When I was little my Mom would peek her head into my room after bedtime to make sure I was asleep. Often, I wasn’t. She would say, “Close your eyes and go to sleep.” So in effort to obey, I would amuse myself with my eyes closed. I would press the heels of my hands against my eyes for few seconds, then let go. It’s like a kaleidoscope behind your eyelids! I’m sure it’s excellent for your eyeballs, too. Optometrist recommended.
While I’ve outgrown that trick (though I’m tempted to pause right now and try it again), I still often drift off to sleep envisioning patterns. My favorite was an umbrella that popped into mind once. Wish I remembered what it looked like.
All that to say, I went to Nancy Mims’ house!!!
Mod Green Marvelous
Nancy is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Mod Green Pod… the hippest line of organic fabric and wallpaper out there. I’d seen Nancy’s work in some of my favorite magazines (Dwell, Domino, Cottage Living) and on some of my favorite websites (Apartment Therapy, Design*Sponge, Craftzine). I had no idea she was from Austin until I bumped into her at a party!
I had the privilege of seeing her home and studio (I invited myself). The tour did not disappoint.
Nancy’s style is funky. Quirky. She is funky. Quirky. And while I literally felt like a kid at an amusement park taking in all the wonder of her home, it’s what I took away that I’m even more excited about. I don’t mean I took anything (though I could list right now what I would’ve liked to stuff in my pockets… and my bag… and my car). Nancy has this fantastically fresh perspective on things the rest of us look past.
Case in point:
“I find graffiti to be really beautiful. I especially love it when spray paint artists spray paint messages that aren’t very nice, they aren’t very polite, but they use really beautiful script for them. I find that really charming. Because I think it’s funny they’re sort of relaying this mean message, but they’re doing it in this really polite, formal way. I find that really funny.”
And I wouldn’t put it past her, so I had to ask.
“I’ve definitely done my share of graffiti,” she said. “I’ve never used spray paint. But I actually drew an entire 7-foot tall can of easy cheese — the spray on cheese — on a dorm room wall [in pencil].”
Regarding the Disregarded
Perhaps the thing that most inspired me about Nancy is that every day, she quite literally exercises her wonder and amazement at the overlooked among us. She goes for a stroll and photographs things that catch her eye. (Here’s her flickr stream … I can’t believe what she captures with an iPhone!) Can you imagine? Finding something that inspires you and doing it every single day? I bet that’s a powerful weapon against the grumps. And life’s curveballs. And maybe last night’s ice cream.
Many of the great knick-knacks and decor in Nancy’s home are from junk shops she just ducked into, and, of course, got for pennies. Which makes me love her even more.
“I think that’s a good metaphor for life, too — to go out in search of the unknown. And be open to things you would’ve never guessed would happen.”
“Keep your eyes open,” I say.
“Exactly. And that happens a lot when I doodle, too. Whenever I set out to do a specific design, it doesn’t really happen for me. I have to sort of let go and see what else emerges.”
100% Conscientious Cotton
And though pretty designs are plenty for me, Mod Green Pod is about more than that.
“I’m proud of the designs. But I’m most proud of the fact that it’s organic cotton.”
Something textile giant Robert Kaufman likes too — the company just released a new organic craft collection by Nancy called, appropriately, “Free to Grow.”
Which, luckily for the rest of us, I do believe she is.
Music by Hot Club Sandwich. Buy at iTunes Music Store