Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Icon: Lucienne Day

I've decided to start a new themed post on the blog to try and give an insight into the many artists who have been truly inspirational during their working life and continue to inspire today. I felt that I've been offering an insight into modern day artists along with quick inspirational posts but there is definitely a gap in historical overview.
If there's a particular period of time or artist you think would be great for this type of post please let me know in the comments section.

So, on with the first post!...

Lucienne Day
Post World War II, Lucienne Day (1917-2010) revitalised textile design with her move away from traditional, heavy designs to light, playful and contemporary pieces for Heals. Although she is often discussed in conjunction with her designer husband, Robin Day (1915-2010), it should be noted that both designers worked independently to great success.

Four Seasons Plates, 1959

It was the Festival of Britain, 1951, that brought attention to both of their works and it's worth mentioning both artists were in their mid-thirties at this point. The creation of such confident, cohesive design works illustrated that they had clearly been developing their style throughout their twenties. Having lived through World War II and experiencing furniture and textile design during that time, they most likely knew which aspects they would like to change and develop in their own works.

Lucienne created a furnishing fabric, Calyx (1951), that was heavily inspired by nature. Flowers, grass, trees were pared back to single sweeping lines and irregular shapes with an earthy colour palette. Designs, such as this, are clearly of relevance today and still being sold as textile fabrics in haberdasheries.

Calyx, 1951

 Looking at pieces, such as Calyx, we can see the influence of modern art on the designer particularly artist Joan Miro. This fresh approach ensured Lucienne's designs were highly sought after and she quickly progressed to wallpaper and ceramics as well as creating textiles for Heals over a number of years.

The nightingales song at midnight and the morning rain, Joan Miro

As with every great designer, Lucienne's work evolved quickly. During the fifties and sixties,  the light linearity of Calyx was replaced with bold architectural works such as Sequoia (1959). Flat, larger repeats in Pennygrass (1966) were followed by vertical works such as Causeway (1967).

Sequoia, 1959

Pennygrass, 1966

Causeway, 1967

Lucienne's influence can be still be seen in the work of modern day designers such as Orla Kiely and wouldn't look out of place in most homes which is a testament to the longevity of this designer.

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