Mark Eliott Essence of Cloud: The Exhibition

Hello friends, after 5 years of research and a bit of COVID-rescheduling I am presenting my solo show ‘Essence of Cloud: The Exhibition’ at Craft ACT, Canberra in March 2021.  I’m looking for people to help me make this dream a reality.

Essence of Cloud is a whimsical tale of intrigue, fantasy and earth repair. I want everyone to have some ‘essence of cloud’ in their lives after the year we’ve had. But I need your support to complete the glass pieces for the exhibition and the novel. In return I am offering contributors gifts of glass clouds, books and workshops. I created items that would make beautiful presents as well as be a cloud memory of the work you have contributed to.

$50 – An A4 print of your choice from the exhibition,

$90 – small handblown and sandblasted hanging ornament in the shape of a cloud. Each is individually sculpted and no two are alike.

$100 – A copy of the book: Essence of Cloud.

$250 – Two-hour glass cloud-blowing session with Mark Eliott.
$300 – large sandblasted cloud ornament with hook and wire for suspension.

$400 – Cloud Essence pendant vial with essence, ground stopper, cord and funnel.

$500 – Bottle of original Cloud Essence, sandblasted, with ground stopper, label and refilling funnel in box.

$600 – Weekend glass cloud-blowing workshop with Mark Eliott.

Gifts will be provided by June 30th, 2021 and workshop vouchers are for use throughout 2021 at available times. Combinations are also available. All contributors get a thank you in the catalogue text. I will contact you when I receive your donation to arrange your gift or workshop.

Essence of Cloud is a whimsical tale of intrigue, fantasy and earth repair. It drifts over an embellished family history, occasionally alighting on the truth. Five centuries and seven countries are traversed in pursuit of Cloud Essence: a rare and almost undetectable substance purported to induce subtle yet profound changes in the sniffer or taster; including elation, longevity, mystical visions and an increase in empathy towards other living things.

The project has two main components: a book and a multi-faceted art exhibition scheduled to open at Craft ACT in Canberra on March 25th 2021 and run until May 22nd. 

Essence of Cloud: The Exhibition will feature hand-made glass objects and mixed-media installations comprised of carved wood, scent, animation, sound and found objects. Some works will be dioramas, whilst others will be displayed more like museum artefacts. The show will open with a talk about cloud essence including a demonstration of the process of essence condensation and a sniffing/tasting session.

While exploring this immersive exhibition, audiences will unravel strands of a mostly fictional narrative that is detailed in the book, and learn about characters such as Dario an apprentice alchemist in 16th century Spanish Galicia and his childhood sweetheart Sister Antia Tapia Coello: a nun belonging to an order who secretly worship the Lonely Goddess of the Clouds.

In the 19th century, Dario’s descendent: Professor  Hamish McFoggarty, a Scottish naturalist discovers how to extract ‘cloud essence’ and has a mind-altering experience as a result of lightning strike, while venturing into the atmosphere in a hot-air balloon. He is assisted in his farfetched research by his glassblowing cousin Ferdinand and his talented housekeeper Vanessa Winthrop who follow him all the way to New Zealand.

In the 21st century, a Sydney glassblower is inspired to re-instigate the family research, by his grandma Dawn and an Instagram post of a strange object in the Corning Glass museum, New York.

Serious ideas are embedded in this whimsical story and fantasy is used as an accessible way to discuss ideas around identity and the natural environment.

In addition to my glasswork and text, I am engaging some wonderful collaborators including Ainsley Walker to develop the scent of ‘cloud essence’, Laura Altman to provide music for the soundtrack, Dion Cozic to develop a short animation, Shane Wiechnik to craft wood components, Spike Deane to create larger glass forms for the installations and Anna Kirk to assist with curation. 

About me and my career as an artist:

I am a contemporary artist based in Sydney with an established reputation in flame-worked glass. Through combining glass objects and installations with other mediums, including woodcarving, animation, text, performance and music, I create artworks that tell stories and form contemporary mythologies.

I have accrued a national and international reputation with key achievements including; in 2018: the prestigious Tom Malone Glass Prize and the People’s Choice Award in the Deakin Small Sculpture Prize and in 2017: high commendation in the Mage Studio Glass Award. In 2016 my glass work was collected by The Corning Glass Museum in New York and I was awarded the KIGA Award for innovation in illuminated glass. My work is held in collections across the world including the National Gallery of Australia, Museum of Western Australia, Corning Museum of Glass in New York, Rakow Research Library, Glasmuseet in Denmark, the Australian National Glass Collection, and Canberra Museum and Gallery.

I have held solo exhibitions nationally at galleries including; Glass Artists Gallery, The Other Art Fair, Murray Art Museum, 107 Projects. I have exhibited in group shows nationally and internationally at galleries, festivals and conferences including; Canberra Glassworks, Craft ACT, Deakin University, Jam Factory, Wagga National Glass Gallery, Kirra Gallery Melbourne, ANU Canberra, Gallery of Western Australia, SAS Animation Conference in Kent UK, Art and About Sydney, National Liberty Museum USA, Pittsburgh Glass Centre USA and Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in Denmark.

How this opportunity will impact me:

This outstanding opportunity to undertake a major solo exhibition at Craft ACT in 2021 will allow me to:

1. Increase the audience for my work and develop new interstate audiences outside of NSW.
2. Develop new skills and increase my capacity as an artist.
3. Build and strengthen new collaborative relationships.
4. Diversify my income stream via the sale of artworks in the exhibition.
5. Enable me to develop new experimental ways of working with and exhibiting glass.

This exhibition signifies a major turning point in my 30+ year career as a glass artist and is my most ambitious project to date as it brings together storytelling and conceptual messages relating to political and social issues such as climate change and anthropocentrism, through the production of technically ambitious glass installation, text and mixed-media artworks. By undertaking this exceptional opportunity, I aim to strengthen my practice and further develop the capacity to address serious issues whilst maintaining a sense of wonder, fantasy and optimism.

Here are the costs:

$6000 – Artist fees for collaborators.
$2600 – Curatorial and install assistance.
$8000 – Artist fees for Mark Eliott to take 8 weeks out from glass teaching between December and February to complete exhibition work and novel.
$9700 – Materials for the exhibition including glass, kiln and equipment hire, production equipment, oxygen and gas costs and studio rent.
$1200 – Travel and accommodation costs for Canberra.
$7000 – Book production including editing and printing costs.

Total budget $34,500

Thank you so much!

  • Jane Goffman 
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  • Jessica Douglas  
    • $90 
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  • Kathryn Moreira  
    • $90 
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  • Daneev Roy 
    • $150 
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  • Brigitte Staples 
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Mark Eliott 
Daceyville NSW