By Roberta Attanasio
Textile art is all around us, from the clothes we wear to the rugs in our homes. Made of interlacing fibers of any material, woven or knitted, textiles belong to the mundane as well as to the world of artistic expression. In her classic book on the art and history of weaving, Anni Albers writes “Along with cave paintings, threads were among the earliest transmitters of meaning.”
Contemporary artists keep this ancient art form alive, mixing it with unique and innovative elements. “The zeal for textiles today is part of a larger global nostalgia for handmade things—alongside ceramics, glassware and mezcal—as an antidote to mass production, with its history of unethical practices.”
Here is an example of contemporary textile art—artist Gabriel Dawe made an indoor rainbow out of 60 miles of thread—a visual representation of the full spectrum of natural light—hooking ordinary embroidery thread from floor to ceiling in a repeating overlay.
And here is an environmental textile artist— Edith Meusnier. Born in France, she lives not too far from Paris in a small village surrounded by a forest in Picardy. She says: “My forest environment feeds my imagination and envelops me on a daily basis.” For her, it’s a place of refuge and escape, exploration and experimentation, but also a place to ponder about the exploitation and devastation of the natural world.
Edith uses the elegance and versatility of textiles to bring her voice within nature—she keeps her creations in the open air, exposed to rain, wind, sun, and more. You can find her installations in forests, ponds, and courtyards—they bring more light and color in a world of light and color. “I draw ephemeral parentheses in the landscape,” she says. You will never forget her installations once you see them and, most likely, you will be looking for more.
Edith’s art is based on plaiting—an ancient technique that forms complex patterns by intertwining three or more strands of flexible textile fibers—and on sprang. “Sprang is created when warp threads are systematically twisted around one another, and as a result looks a bit like netting, except it’s not looped or knotted.”
She uses these techniques to create flexible and transparent artwork in geometric shapes that blend into various landscapes, while at the same time being distinct from them—as Edith says: “They vibrate in the light, expand in the wind in a succession of contradictory images.” Her work reflects the seasonal transformations, and explores the boundaries between the natural and the artificial.
Edith Meusnier brings her art into the highest form of art—nature itself.