Fleurs du Mal

Fleur du Mal. A glass hanging inspired by the poems of Charles Baudelaire.

This work began as an idea of destruction, of the shattering of glass, and the negative impact of recent world events on the lives of ordinary people. Lives can be rebuilt, and good can come out of evil, even though the scars of destruction will remain.

Flowers often have symbolic meanings associated with love. Many plants have healing properties, although some may be poisonous. However, there is usually a sense that a flower is beautiful, decorative, and something positive. In the collection of poems “Les Fleurs du Mal”, beauty is described as both dangerous and appealing. Beneath the beautiful exterior can often lie something more sinister. Heaven and Hell create the balance of the universe in Baudelaire’s world. The harmony of the world depends on both to survive.

The arrangement of the pieces is designed to reflect early stained glass, in a geometric pattern based on squares, as in a patchwork. The idea of a tapestry or patchwork gives the work a feminine quality, as well as reflecting the idea of a piece built of small elements. Each ‘flower’ was created from a process of destruction. Squares of glass were smashed with a hammer, before being reconstructed and rearranged. The pieces were fused in the kiln, which softens the hard edges, and combined the separate colours.

From a violent action, a balance is achieved through the careful arrangement of broken pieces. The heat of the kiln erases the danger from the sharp shards. It is difficult to imagine the pieces of glass as the result of a destructive process, when the resulting work seems so delicate and harmonious.

All content © Copyright 2010 by Claudia Phipps Architectural Glass.