Local Obituaries

Miami artist, clothes designer Joyce Lux dies at 94

STYLISH WARDROBE: Joyce Lux, in one of her own designs, overlooks Biscayne Bay
STYLISH WARDROBE: Joyce Lux, in one of her own designs, overlooks Biscayne Bay Courtesy Hilarie Riste Reiner

Joyce Lux was in her 90’s but that didn’t stop her from painting, crafting her beloved porcelain dolls and fairies, sculptures, jewelry and designing the kind of clothes that made her a regular on WPBT Channel 2 during her nearly quarter-century in Miami.

Lux, who died at 94 in Lancashire outside of Manchester, England on Aug. 14, lived to create and welcomed change.

“I like to keep my brain busy,” she said at 88 in a Lancashire Life magazine profile. “It’s important to me that I keep doing my own thing because you have to be your own person. Art keeps me young. I’ve always liked to try new things and I love to take on new challenges.”

Born in Eltham, England, 17 years after entertainer Bob Hope was born in the same South East London suburb, Lux shared her father’s passion for art. Her dad, John Owen, was a commercial artist who designed public service posters.

Lux initially worked as a midwife after spotting an ad in the local paper. Make that, a colorful midwife. She merged art with her midwife duties at Withington Hospital in England when she would draw the babies she delivered. Mothers were delighted with these pieces.

“Becoming a midwife was a new challenge for me…but the mums and the other midwives loved looking at the drawings, too. I guess once you’re an artist it never leaves you,” she told the magazine.

A fellowship at the prestigious Royal Society of Arts led to more work and awards for her antique reproductions. Her first portrait doll was an early version of a “selfie” — Lux as a four-year-old, culled from an old sepia photograph.

But a move to Miami in 1979 with her late second husband, engineer Louis Lux, to be near daughter Hilarie Riste Reiner, catapulted Lux onto public television and made her a hit in her North Bay Village neighborhood. Her hand-crafted silk clothes, which she dubbed “wearable art,” were often featured on PBS broadcasts. She’d donate some of her work to Channel 2 for its fund drives.

“They stayed here for 24 years. Mom pursued her clothing wear and she did portraits, porcelain dolls. There was no end to her talents and all her neighbors have pieces of work that she gave them,” said Reiner who lives in Coral Gables.

Lux also got involved with Pelican Harbor Seabird Station on the 79th Street Causeway. “She and her husband went on the beach on Sunday mornings rescuing pelicans. She just never stopped doing things,” Reiner said.

In 2003, the couple returned to England and moved into a 250-year-old cottage. “They had a great life here but wanted to go back for their golden years,” her daughter said. After her husband died five years ago, Lux worked out of her studio on commission work, her clothes, and her latest endeavor: crafting porcelain fairies.

“I’ve had a full life,” she told Lancashire Life magazine. “I like to keep active and try new things.”

Her moxie provided a life-long lesson for her daughter.

“To not be afraid of things. To make changes. To have the courage to live your life as full as you can,” Reiner said. “Pursue your dreams and live your life without fear. Fear holds you back.”

In addition to Reiner, Lux’s survivors include son Cedric Riste of Manchester and Diane Calvario of Weybridge, Surrey, UK. A memorial will take place at a later date.

Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.

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