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  • Writer's picturesallyinstpaul

Style Imitating Art (SIA): Calyx by Lucienne Day

Terri at Meadow Tree Style is the curator for this round of Style Imitating Art (SIA), and she picked the fabric Calyx designed by Lucienne Day to be used in a room that her husband had created for the 1951 Festival of Britain. Terri notes that "with her ability to combine abstract art with natural motifs, Lucienne Day created playful and intelligent textiles...[that provided the] dose of good cheer that post-war Britain needed."


In a great 6 minute video that Terri linked to, Day's textiles are heralded for their visual references to the sophisticated 1930s surrealism of Klee, Kandinsky, and Miro. They describe the Calyx design as modern plant forms (elsewhere: mushrooms caps and stalks), and point out that people often interpret them as umbrellas or parachutes. The idea of these figures being plants (or fungi) surprised me...I thought they obviously looked just like playful floor lamps! I don't know how long this style of lamp goes back, and I can see that a fabric with lamps on it would be perhaps a little bit overly self-referential for a fabric used in interior design, but my mind immediately went there upon seeing the image on Terri's blog!


Despite its plant or fungus-based origins, because this was another geometric design, I identified the same three categories of elements from this textile as I did from the Castle and Sun painting in the last SIA:

(1) Colors: Olive, black, white, cream, yellow, rust, aloe vera green;

(2) Geometric shapes: Smooth round curves, such as half circles and other cup-like segments of a circle;

(3) Straight lines.

I quickly landed on this cream T with vertical black stripes as my first piece. I think of it as my "baseball uniform T"...and though I've worn it 14 times, this is the first time as part of an OOTD! It's typical purpose is a sleep shirt. I paired it with aloe vera (aka sage or cool olive) ankle pants and a black short-sleeved cardigan (which I thrifted in 2016!) to create the base outfit.

OOTD 8/23/22

For shoes, I picked round-toed black flats with a round buckle detail to lean into the "round" aspect of the fabric design. I initially thought I'd wear my olive-yellow open weave scarf with it, but I wasn't feeling like even a lightweight scarf, so I decided on a layered necklace instead. I started with the DIY round multi-colored pendant, then supplemented it with the bulky olive bead/ribbon necklace and the DIY gold paperclip chain necklace.

I had initially considered making paper earrings for this outfit (as I did for Castle and Sun), but then I thought how cool it would look to have a circular pendant on top of the vertical stripes to mimic the shapes of the "plants" in the design. I went with a very simple color-block in olive, black, and gold metallic acrylic paint atop a 5 layer paperboard (cereal box) disk. I made the pendant reversible with a navy stripe on the other side because olive + navy is a very common color combo for me.

At the last minute, I did pull out that scarf and use it as a headband. I struggle when I wear such a high proportion of neutrals instead of colors around my face, so I thought a little extra dose of olive to match my eyes wouldn't go amiss.

I also took this opportunity to wear these gold-tone twisted hoop earrings for the first time. My last Boss' Bead Bag order (2 bags) from Fire Mountain Gems had a bunch of earring findings, including an array of different hoops. Since I didn't already have anything like these hoops, that made for what is truly the world's easiest "DIY" earrings - match up 2 hoops, open hoops, put on, done. (Actually the putting on step wasn't the easiest! I had no trouble with my left ear but it took several attempts to ka-chink the earring post into the brace behind my right ear. It's nothing about the earrings themselves; just a right-handedness thing, I think.)

For my daily bracelet stack, I put together various bracelets in the color scheme of the fabric (all DIY unless mentioned): olive serpentine beads, black/white paper beads, black glass beads x2, mixed stone beads, olive/black beads (from my CJ Banks set).

My Rabbit Imitating Art selection is a white Jersey Wooly standing with a curved back to mimic the rounded forms of the Calyx design.

White Jersey Wooly rabbit

I'm not sure our bunny is convinced that these curved shapes represent any kind of edible plant, but since it's a textile, it will still make for good chewing!

Castle and Sun "improved" with rabbit

Thanks for joining me today for this Style Imitating Art + Crafts Imitating Art + Rabbit Imitating Art post!

To see other outfit interpretations of this artwork, check out the review on Meadow Tree Style.

What does the Calyx design remind you of?

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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