2023 Exhibition - 7.29 - 9.30

New Zealand Artist – Luke Jacomb

Luke Jacomb MercurioLuke Jacomb grew up at the centre of the Aotearoa New Zealand glass community. His late father, John Croucher, was a well-known glass artist who initiated one of the nation’s first glassblowing cooperatives in the 1970s. Together with fellow glass artist John Leggott, Croucher later established two glass production companies: Giovanni Glass in 1989 and Gaffer Glass in 1995. Since the passing of his father in 2021, Luke has continued to explore the history of glass science that led them to their first collaborative exhibition in 2019 – ALEMBICS AND CUCUBITAS: A NEW GLASS VERNACULAR.

Mercurio is the evolution of that series and the Italian for mercury, a substance highly prized for its unusual chemical properties by Alchemists, Chemists, Scientists and Doctors.

Stemming from Egyptian and Islamic roots, the alchemists are known for their search for the secrets of transmutation – turning base metals into gold and silver. The myth of the Philosopher’s Stone stems from those efforts and was likely a ruby colored glass-like substance with the power to affect transmutation.

The apparatuses used in that process included vessels of glass called alembics, cucubitas, and aludels. With the heightened scale and vivid colors of this new series of vessels, Luke reflects on the emotional journey and growth through the grief of personal loss. Revisiting the alembics is a way to reconnect with his father.

“Seeing him in every piece provides a connection to past, present and future”.

Today, the techniques of creating colored glass from different chemicals (including gold and lead) is no less mystical, if slightly more scientifically probable, than the alchemy of a thousand years ago.