The English Group has spent much time researching silk over recent months (for bookbinding purposes for some of our luxury Limited Edition publishing projects) and find this golden cape woven from the silk of over a million wild spiders which is on show at the V&A Museum in London the most fascinating project. Working in Madagascar, Simon Peers from the UK and Nicholas Godley from the USA created a hand-operated machine for harvesting silk from the spiders based on a design from over 100 years ago.
Golden orb spiders were collected from the wild, harnessed to the machine so the silk could be extracted and set free again at the end of each day.
It takes about one week for the spiders to regenerate their silk so the same spiders can be used again and again.
23,000 spiders are needed to create about 28g of silk, which is naturally golden in colour.
The display also includes a four metre-long piece of fabric woven from the same spider silk and is on show at the museum until 5 June 2012.
Here are some more details from the V&A Museum:
The only large textiles in the world to have been created from the silk of spiders will go on display at the V&A in January 2012.
The four metre long woven textile was made from the silk of more than a million female Golden Orb spiders collected in the highlands of Madagascar. The hand-woven brocaded textile is naturally golden in colour and took over four years to create. It will be shown together with a new golden cape, woven and embroidered in Madagascar, which will go on public display for the very first time at the V&A.