Apparatus for the Extraction of Cloud Essence by Mark Eliott

Craft ACT successfully negotiates sale to world renowned Corning Museum of Glass, New York

Craft ACT was thrilled and relieved to learn that Apparatus for the Extraction of Cloud Essence by ANU PhD student Mark Eliott last week arrived safely at its new home at one of the world’s leading glass museums, the Corning Museum of Glass, New York.

Craft ACT has spent some months negotiating the sale of this work from the Repeated History exhibition, held in their Civic gallery earlier this year (31 January – 25 March 2017).

Craft ACT had invited a group of Australia's top glass artists to reinterpret and contemporise an object from the Corning Museum of Glass Collection.

Mark Elliot, a Sydney-based contemporary artist working in glass, stop-motion animation and music, created a work which is both fantastically whimsical and expertly executed.  

Mark responded to a Trick Glass from Spain (1600-1625), a complex drinking glass composed of 14 pieces and originally intended for drinking games. Mark’s response, a flameworked glass sculpture called Apparatus for the Extraction of Cloud Essence depicts a kneeling man (Sergio Foggartino) holding a magic lamp like object (trick glass), from which is billowing a cloud shaped like a woman.

The form of the trick glass is reimagined as the magic lamp of Mark Elliot’s contemporary piece and is a key object in his elaborate story, a way for Sergio Foggartino, a Spanish alchemist in the 1500s, to woo his lover, Antia Tapia Coello, back from the clouds.

“We are delighted but also relieved to learn that Mark Elliot’s beautiful and captivating reimagining of a 1600 Trick Glass has arrived safe and sound at the acclaimed Corning Museum of Glass. The sale is a tribute to the small but mighty team at Craft ACT who support and promote artists, crafts practitioners, designers and makers at every stage of their careers. I would particularly like to acknowledge with warmest thanks the work of former curator Mel George who so imaginatively conceived and delivered a beautiful exhibition which now enjoys a lasting legacy in one of the world’s great glass collections” said Rachael Coghlan, CEO/Artistic Director of Craft ACT.

Founded in 1951, The Corning Museum of Glass is unique, in that it is dedicated to telling the story of a single material: glass. The sale by Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre to such a prestigious institution is extremely exciting, both for the organisation and the local craft and design community. Canberra is internationally regarded for glassmaking, and this recent acquisition further cements that reputation and strengthens international links.


Image: Mark Eliott, Apparatus for the extraction of Cloud Essence (misnamed the Trick glass), 2016, flameworked glass. Collection of Corning Museum of Glass. Photo: Richard Weinstein.