Amelia Fais Harnas pinta sus retratos con vino intentando controlar la naturaleza impredecible del vino sangrando el textil, una naturaleza que encuentra similar a la de las personas.
©Amelia Fais Harnascolossal
I create portraits by staining fabric with red wine using a wax resist (much like batiks) to build a light/dark pattern. I may decide to add embroidery (split stitch, to be precise) or machine sewing to reinforce the design or composition. The end result is a blend of chaos and control.
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.
When I started making wine stain portraits, my equipment was rather crude, and I was melting dead candle remnants in a coffee can over a propane grill, painting the wax resist with a beat-up bristle brush, and using cotton bed sheets previously employed to protect tomato plants from frost. The first stains were made with a bottle of French Cahors, but subsequent stains feature Finger Lakes reds, like Damiani’s Vino Rosso, chosen for deep color and lowest residual sugars.