FoodBeat: Can you describe your process?
Amelia Harnas: The process, as simply as possible is: wine will not stain wherever I put hot melted wax and will bleed through the remaining plain cotton. Wax also traps whatever level of stain is under it. So, the white you see on the portrait is the first layer of wax before any wine even touches the fabric. The next lightest pink is the second layer of wax, and so on and so forth. The wine has to dry in between layers of wax, so I have found it is best working at a room temperature of between 80 and 90°F. At the end, I remove all of the wax using an iron and paper towels to soak up the remelted wax.
FoodBeat: What sort of symbolism does your work have?
Amelia Harnas: First, I very much enjoy the simple components of these wine stains: cotton, wax and wine. Other paints, like acrylics, oils or even watercolors, have pigments that are naturally highly toxic (cadmiums, lead white, vermilion, etc.). I see this approach as safer to me and the environment. Secondly, this is also another way of viewing the old adage, “You are what you eat.” In this case, wine also reminds us of blood, especially in certain religions. To that end, after living two doors down from a rowdy bar, I know that many drunks do feel immortal. But it doesn’t have to be taken to such an extreme: the wonderful glow after a good glass of wine can also merely bring a person out of their shell, letting them feel free to be more open to the world (and to the artist).
FoodBeat: What has the response been?
Amelia Harnas: So far, the response to the wine stains has been very positive. To watch them appear in publications all over the world, on the internet and in print, has been truly fascinating for me.