The future is blossoming

The stained glass windows of Josef Albers (1920-33) demonstrate the remarkable advances that were made in glass art in the period between 1885 (with the Tiffany glass Company) and 1933 (with students from the Bauhaus), and the increasing links between emerging art movements and gardens (hinted at by Filoli ).

Art Nouveau began a remarkable period in the history of art, when designers inspired by nature and natural forms, began a creative transformation which would lead to the pure abstraction of Modernism, perhaps most typified in the work of Gustav Klimt.

Louis Comfort Tiffany, was the third generation of successful American entrepreneurs. His father founded the jewelry company, Tiffany & Co, while his grandfather had been a leading cloth manufacturer.

Mirroring the emerging emancipation of women which typifies the age, the daffodil lamp, designed by one the ‘Tiffany Girls’ Clara Discoll, is considered among the most famous of the studio’s designs.

5 thoughts on “The future is blossoming

  1. Tom Turner

    I love stained glass and this is a fine example. But the phrase ‘inspired by nature and natural forms’ is problematic, particularly for garden designers who work with ‘the materials of nature’. One could argue that everything is ‘natural’ and there is no other source of inspiration. Or one could say that ‘nature’ means ‘not-man-made’ but this would be to separate man from nature. And if humans are not ‘natural’, then where do they come from – and who are we?

  2. Christine

    In law the distinction in viewpoints is made by the terms ‘eco-centric’ and ‘anthro-centric’.

    Wiki describes the difficulty with word useage quite well:

    “Within the various uses of the word today, “nature” often refers to geology and wildlife. Nature may refer to the general realm of various types of living plants and animals, and in some cases to the processes associated with inanimate objects – the way that particular types of things exist and change of their own accord, such as the weather and geology of the Earth, and the matter and energy of which all these things are composed. It is often taken to mean the “natural environment” or wilderness–wild animals, rocks, forest, beaches, and in general those things that have not been substantially altered by human intervention, or which persist despite human intervention.”

    The same distinction exists in ‘anthro-centric’ sciences such as medicine where a distinction is made between what is natural and artificial.

    How do garden designers discuss this difference between the garden proper (the design) and garden users (the client/public etc)? Undoubtably, artificial materials also are used within gardens as well as the materials of nature?

    The question of – where to humans come from and who are we – is easier to answer within the span of a life (birth to death), however before and after death is a much bigger question!

    The Dalai Lama recently described re-incarnation as being like “changing ones clothes”.

    1. Tom Turner

      That is a good distinction between ‘eco-centric’ and ‘anthro-centric’ – but which law, or type of law, makes this distinction?
      One of the strengths of the distinction is the word ‘centric’. An action (eg a biodiversity policy) can be taken for eco-centric reasons though it may also benefit humans.
      But the underlying problem is un-resolvable: for science, man is part of nature. You need a theory about man being made ‘in the image of god’ if we are to be separate from nature and to ‘have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’. [Genesis 1:28]

  3. Christine

    Yes. Environmental law makes this distinction. The discussion of flooding is an interesting example of how the two viewpoints can be useful in analysing a problem. For example, the natural flood and weather cycles, geology and geography (eco-centric) and human adaptations urban development, infrastructure development and management and urban design (anthro-centric).

    In this way of thinking the theory of man being made in the image of God is not essential. However, wisdom suggests not discounting the importance of spiritual insights: ‘we do not know what we do not know’.


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