Lucienne Day’s "Calyx"-A Ground Breaking Classic

Calyx, 1951


Lucienne Day rocked the design world in 1951.  She debuted her fabric design Calyx at the Festival of Britain.  This pattern was designed for a room that her husband, Robin Day, had created for the festival. Her ability to mix eye popping color contrasts with organic abstract shapes was a dose of good cheer that post-war Britain needed.

Calyx was the beginning of a career that would  expand into different types of textiles, working with numerous companies and winning many awards.

Designers are always telling us that they can get their ideas from the smallest things.  As an art teacher, I told my students to open their eyes up and really look at the world because a designer and artist will never know where the next inspiration lies. 
Starting from the top left: Joan Miro, Saul Steinberg, Wassily Kandinsky, Naum Gabo, and Paul Klee-possible influences for a young designer in the early 50s
Lucienne Day was no different.  That she looked to nature is obvious.  However, during her formative years, several wonderful artists experimented  in abstraction and color.  Some of these were Klee, Miró, Kandinsky, Gabo, and Calder.  I think these artists and their styles influenced Day. 
Lucienne Day had a great fifty years in design.  She  was a trail blazer in a world at that time dominated by men. This is the first of a few articles I want to write about her.  
Portrait of Lucienne Day

A newer article with more of Day’s designs can be read here


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