Meditative stitching and storytelling

Textile artist Stewart Francis Easton creates embroidery and applique works inspired by folk art, new age symbolism and abstraction. Central to Stewart’s abstract work is meditation, with the sewing process being a meditative act, which then becomes part of a piece’s story.

When did you start to sew?

While studying for an MA in Illustration and Animation. I was researching folk art, more specifically samplers and badly painted signs, when I was required to carry out experiments in a medium unfamiliar to my practice. I tried embroidery and totally fell for it. I loved the quality of line I could achieve with thread - just not possible with pen or pencil.

What are your main textile practices?

At present I have two embroidery practices. I have a project which combines hand embroidery and appliqué, and one which is purely abstract and involves being present with the process, similar to meditative.

For the large scale appliqué / embroidered pieces I am enjoying revisiting storytelling through stitch. The slowing of time and actions when working narratively enables me to enter the story.

My morning 'embroidery as an abstract' practice differs as it is used as a way to open up to the moment, to be aware of each movement of the hands and the effect this has on slowing the thought process. Eventually becoming more spacial and open.

How does embroidery relate to meditation for you?

My morning embroidery practice is done straight after breath work meditation so I’m already pretty much in that open space. I think because I sit to work with the intention of being present with the embroidery process it becomes a meditation. To continue through those blockages which naturally come when working - those urges to go out, put the TV on, go on the Internet etc. To not to follow these urges is a practice in itself, and it is a practice which over time spreads into everyday life. Embroidery is a great tool for this form of mind training.

Stewart is currently working on a number of large-scale appliqué embroidered pieces. View his work on Instagram @stewarteaston

Blog post by Kate Grinnell.

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