Small and attentive

Some Very Small Embroideries – Levels of mindfulness

Today I have been looking at some carefully placed stitches leading on from some meticulous mark makings I created earlier in the week.  Using paper and my hand dyed floss yarn to create these pieces stenciled on from the grid of a 14 count cross stitch canvas.  Each if these small embroidery squares are 2cm squared in size.  My choice of canvas was paper to constrain the number of punctures into the canvas as on paper they would be left visible whereas on most fabric the wound would close shut.  I pierced the holes on each row as I came to stitch, still being very careful not to create any new punctures by turning the piece from front to back each time I stitched through the paper.
This got quite boring after a while, although this kind of task could be quite mindful to begin with, the creative parts of my brain fell asleep because they weren’t making any of their own decisions as it was all dictated by the grid.  Cross Stitch required a little more concentration but after a lot of repetitiveness it left the mind to wonder.  Earlier in the week I experimented with creating a pattern from a drawing of mine which was shaded. Only copying the outline of the drawing onto the canvas, I had to think carefully about the placement on the cross stitches representing the shade and other tones.  This felt more mindful, although only allowed some decision making not all.
These grid samples however left no freedoms and although calming to stitch was just boring and definitely not the type of technique I would take forward into a community workshop as there is no room for participants to put their mark on a piece. Not only this there is no room for participants to think, consciously or subconsciously, laterally nor emotively. Thinking is fine within a mindful practice as long as it’s toward the present moment!

Floss on Paper wit a marked out grid

Pen from previous stenciling (left) Small stitches (right)
Although not quite the same rigid formation as the previous sample, this was still following a traced pattern from the hole in a doily. The sample including doily is about 6 cm squared so again very tiny stitches which require more of a mindless concentration, there’s not enough of a substantial activity here for me to think mindfully. I guess with practice and training you could perform the task mindfully, but i think a lot of the community participants will be beginners of mindful practices and this will definitely not be the best task to combat drifting thought.

Floss on Paper, Doily marked

Pre-embossed fabric and floss

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