‘I refuse to let cancer rob me of my passion for life’ - artist Laura Hart

Laura Hart with her dog, Grace Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Laura Hart with her dog, Grace Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

“It’s pointless wasting time worrying about how much you have got left. You may as well enjoy it.”

Laura Hart's ‘Floralia’ glass orchids feature in the Homo Faber Exhibition at San Giorgio Maggiore I

Laura Hart's Floralia glass orchids feature in the Homo Faber Exhibition at San Giorgio Maggiore Island, Venice, Italy from September 14 to 30. - Credit: Contributed

Internationally-acclaimed glassmaker Laura Hart from Cavendish, Suffolk, is a pragmatist when it comes to her recent cancer diagnosis, saying “whatever will be will be”.

The 56-year-old is supposed to be in Venice for the Homo Faber Exhibition, which features her Floralia glass orchids, but she was unable to go due to further chemotherapy and an impending bone marrow transplant.

She is “gutted” by this blow, but cancer is not slowing her down when it comes to producing art - in fact this desire is more urgent.

“I refuse to let cancer rob me of my passion for life, even as it attempts to rob me of mine,” she said.

Artist Laura Hart at her Suffolk studio Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Artist Laura Hart at her Suffolk studio Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant


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The artist describes herself as, normally, “as healthy as a horse” so the diagnosis of leukaemia in May came “out of the blue”.

“I had a minor infection and I couldn’t get rid of it with stuff from the chemist. I finally got sent to hospital to see what the problem was and they took blood tests and found it. I had a call at 5am the next day saying get back here quick.”

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She has undergone two cycles of chemotherapy - with the second at home - and is going to have a third run and a bone marrow transplant, which involves six weeks in isolation at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

“Chemo knocks you for six. It’s more a case of getting over the chemo, the treatment not the disease really,” she said. “Chemo is evil stuff.

Laura Hart at work in her glass workshop Picture: GREGG BROWN

Laura Hart at work in her glass workshop Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

“Fifty years from now people will be looking back at chemo and thinking ‘what a barbaric treatment’. It’s the equivalent of cutting off a leg and putting tar on it to stop it bleeding.”

Laura, who doesn’t have any children, had been waiting for a date for a bone marrow transplant and now knows it will be October 7.

There has been a full genetic match with a donor, whom she says she will never meet, but does know she’s a young woman.

“It’s a very noble thing to do, especially for a young person,” she said.

Laura Hart at work in her glass workshop Picture: GREGG BROWN

Laura Hart at work in her glass workshop Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Laura is realistic about her chances of surviving leukaemia, but is ever hopeful of advances in treatment.

“You just have to keep going,” she said. “At the end of the day, as far as I’m concerned if it comes back and there’s no offer of something that will work I won’t take treatment.”

She added: “I have just taken the view I would rather have some quality of life than suffering the chemo.”

Her exhibition at San Giorgio Maggiore Island, Venice, is from September 14 to 30.

She has two entirely new bodies of work on the go for exhibition in 2019 and her delicate glass blooms now adorn walls and display cabinets around the world and showcase at prestigious arts and crafts events, including Collect, London and Tresor Craft, Basel.

Her love affair with glass art began just seven years ago in her crumbling garage.

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