Spider Silk

September 30, 2009

Beweave It!

Many a spinner might envy the skill of spiders, with their gossamer threads. But what about weavers who can turn those wispy filaments into cloth? For the next six  months, the American Museum of Natural History will have on display the first recorded example of a hand-woven brocaded textile made entirely from spider silk. The 11-foot-long, golden cloth is made entirely from the silk of golden orb spiders found only in Madagascar. The female spiders produce a fiber that is five to six times stronger than steel, by weight. The cloth was produced through the efforts of an art historian and a fashion designer working to revive weaving traditions in Madagascar, and of a dexterous team of women who “milked” almost a million spiders for their saffron-colored silk.

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