Blood Vessels

Glass Sculpture Series


In this delicate series of glass Blood Vessel artworks, artist Charlie Murphy generates a variety of philosophical, emotional and poetic facets to scientific and medical representations of the body.

Inspired by historic illustrations and new insights achieved through contemporary scientific imagery, Charlie upcycles and reforms old, broken scientific glassware to explore the vital forms, structures and vascular systems of human anatomy including our veins, arteries, heart valves and blood cells.

Using a variety of scientific glass blowing techniques, including the lathe, hand drawing and colourisation, Charlie renders her own interpretations of scientific illustration and apparatus to frame and embody intimate personal experiences and patient perspectives often excluded from scientific discourse.

These delicate, visceral glass sculptures deliberately subvert the assumed neutrality and uniformity of scientific measurement with highly emotive and ambiguous content. 

Using the capillary actions of thin glass tubes with the expanding properties of red and blue toluene (a chemical used in thermometers), Murphy’s Cerebral Arteries extend deep, crimson antlers of impossibly delicate glass thorns to prick a renewed sense of fragility and mortality.

This work forms part of her ongoing sculptural experiments with glass, exploring scientific research and its representations of the human body, health and disease to highlight deep resonances and metaphorical potentials of scientific and bodily vessels.

Opening up myriad meanings and connections between laboratory and medical apparatus, these artworks and installations creatively visualize hidden human anatomies and experiences to celebrate important fields of scientific research at a range of different scales.


The MonocyteBasophil and The Content and The Container artworks were informed by dialogues with Shaun McCann, Professor of Haematology at Trinity College Dublin and co- curator of Blood – Not for the Faint Hearted (2011), a high impact exhibition exploring blood at Science Gallery Dublin.

Cerebral was commissioned by Wellcome Collection, London for Charlie’s solo exhibition The Anatomy of Desire & Other Experiments (2011).

Additional Resources:

Ongoing artworks and exhibitions exploring and visualising different aspects of dementia research can be seen at (Instagram @brainsinadish)

Further examples of Charlie’s sculptural work and wider art practice can be viewed at:

Charlie’s ongoing collaborations which respond to and visualize different aspects of dementia research can be seen at:

Instagram @brainsinadish

See Talking About Blood podcast (title: Glass-Sculpted Blood Vessels and Other Art-Science Experiments) featuring Charlie Murphy as guest.

Making glass sculptures (click on image):

About Charlie Murphy:

Charlie Murphy

Charlie Murphy’s practice is highly collaborative and interdisciplinary. Her dramatic sculptural installations, performances and events are regularly presented across many arts, science, public health museum and community contexts. Charlie’s projects often involve participation or co – creation to explore pertinent questions or experiences inspired by our bodies, health and relationships.  

Examples of this include collecting bodily casts of the insides of our desire (Anatomy of Desire/ Kiss-in), dancing principles of cutting edge dementia research (The Neuronal Disco) and staging London’s longest acrobatic chain of cartwheels through (The Big Wheel)

Charlie’s work is widely presented across UK and international contexts including The Lowry, The Royal Festival Hall, Royal Institute, Science Gallery Dublin, Wellcome Collection, Tate Modern (Artist Collectables), The Big Dance (London) , Edinburgh Fringe (2006) and Artsway’s ‘New Forest Pavilion’ at the Venice Biennale (2005). 

While visual arts director of Wellcome’s Hub Award team Created Out of Mind (2016-18), Charlie devised multiple inter-disciplinary research projects to raise awareness about dementias at social, personal and cellular levels. Ongoing collaborations with ARUK dementia researcher Professor Selina Wray (University College London) and electronics engineer Robin Bussell have evolved innovative new ways to engage and deepen  the public’s understandings of dementia and the brain through immersive, interactive art installations and exciting performative events  

Insta: @brainsinadish     @thephotonicexcitors


Glass Sculptures