Glass Artist Wants To Help Fight Cancer With Her Artwork

By Culture24 Staff | 29 September 2008
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a dark flat glasswork with two illuminated flower like shapes in it

Tracy Nicholls, Orphica II. © the artist

A glass artist who won the 2008 British Glass Biennale with artworks based on the shapes of cancer cells says she wants to allow cancer sufferers to smash her artworks – as a form of therapy.

Tracy Nicholls, an MA student based at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, won the prize in August 2008 for a trilogy of glass panels called Orphica I, II and III – each exploring the shape and form of cancer cells.

She was chosen ahead of 130 other entries submitted by 81 British-based artists and judges were not aware that the images were of diseased cells when they awarded her the prize.

Tracy says she now wants to take her work full circle by allowing cancer sufferers to smash her artworks to help them confront the disease.

“My dream is to bring patients face to face with these cells and allow them to smash them,” she said. “It could help them to fight the disease.”

a dark flat glasswork with three illuminated flower like shapes in it

Tracy Nicholls, Orphica III. © the artist

Tracy became interested in the shape and colour of cancer cells through her own research after close family members were diagnosed with a genetic form of the disease.

“I saw an image of cancerous cells and thought how beautifully fragile they appear, but of course we all know how unpleasant they really are,” said Tracy. “The image reinforced the old adage that looks can be deceiving.”

Tracy will however have to create new artworks if she is to fulfil her plans – she sold all of her artworks during the Glass Biennale exhibition, which closed on September 28 2008.

The 3rd British Glass Biennale, which is part of the International Festival of Glass, was staged at the Ruskin Glass Centre in Amblecote near Stourbridge, the historical heart of the UK glass industry.

For more information about the British Glass Biennale see: www.biennale.org.uk

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