The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge – Amelia Harnas

Contemporary embroidery art via Mr X Stitch

Amelia Harnas is a multimedia artist from New York, specialising in artwork involving wine stains.

Amelia Harnas - Start Over hand embroidery

“I got addicted to embroidery because of a family quilt project that my grandfather started when he was young. He had embroidered a series of cotton squares of common birds, and then his five granddaughters were all asked to embroider the remaining squares of groups of flowers for the quilt. I was quick to finish my two squares and felt disappointed when I couldn’t commandeer the others… 

“I began embroidering again as an adult after having my mind blown at this embroidery show at the Museum of Arts & Design back when it was across from MOMA. I can vividly remember about half of the show, getting giddy at the thought that embroidery could be so innovative and cool.

Amelia Harnas - Rain-Pearls from the Eucharis hand embroidery


“A portrait artist at heart, I am particularly intrigued by the challenge of trying to control the unpredictable nature of wine bleeding through fabric in order to channel the equally imprecise nature of a person’s character. In addition, the sacred aspect of wine lends itself to religious iconography, reminding many of the Shroud of Turin: one who drinks wine may come to feel a certain level of saintliness sipping on this liquid form of divinity. So, this is a form of consecration.  

“Even though my newer wine stains are mainly left un-embroidered, I am thinking about starting a new series, when I move to Paris in the fall, involving a bunch of tiny wine stains on napkins with much more elaborate embroidery involved. (Embroidery travels so well!) Also, I like the aesthetic of using just a simple split stitch, but I may experiment with expanding my stitch repertoire.”

Amelia Harnas - It Is Alternately Stone in You and Star hand embroidery


Having enjoyed the breadth of Amelia’s work on her website, it’s great to see the introduction of embroidered elements into her portfolio and to watch this concept evolve. The stains harken back to traditional methods of dyeing, and I really enjoy this type of illustrative linework. I’m interested to see how the embroidery will take this stained work in new directions.

Amelia Harnas - All Truths Wait in All Things hand embroidery

Take the time to enjoy Amelia’s work on her website and be sure to follow her blog to see what happens next.


The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.