The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge – Harriet Hammel

Contemporary embroidery art via Mr X Stitch

Harriet Hammel is a soft sculptor from London.

I was really impressed by her body of work, so I contacted Harriet to find out more.

While in my final year of a Graphic Design course at Ealing School of Art, I was inspired by a visit to the Claes Oldenberg exhibition in London.  I had never heard of “soft sculpture” before.  As I had been making soft animals from the age of 10, I knew that this was a medium that I could control and excel in.

From that moment, all my projects involved soft sculptures, and I obtained a Distinction in my graduating certificate. The essence of my art is to recreate objects that are normally hard and/or aggressive, so creating a visual and tactile contradiction. I use fabrics that resemble the real thing; satin for metal, organza for glass, corduroy for rubber tyres, etc.

But I have [recently] taken up the needle and thread again, with even more attention to detail than before.  Recent work includes soft cigarettes burning in ashtrays, a soft laptop computer, spraypaint cans (the preferred brand of graffiti artists) and Weapons of Soft Construction, the ultimate demonstration of my art: realistic looking machine gun, hand grenades, pistols and knives, rendered completely harmless and impotent.”


I love Harriet’s work on many levels. From a technical perspective I am astonished by her ability to manipulate the textiles to create these forms. Creating a soft sculpture motorbike is surreal and fantastic and a technical masterwork.

Harriet’s work is infused with a terrific sense of humour and passion, and I love that she chooses objects that are everyday and seemingly mundane. The transformation to soft sculpture brings them to life.

I’m very glad to have found Harriet. Her work puts a smile on my face, and is inspirational. Go and visit her website and give her some love. Ladies and gentleman, Harriet Hammel.


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.