Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Worlds First Spider Silk Tapestry

Weavers in Madagascar have done something never seen before. After 4 years of work, and the silk from 1 milion spiders, they have made an 11 x 4ft tapestry made completely of spider silk.
The color is a radiant gold — the natural color of the golden orb-weaving spider, from the Nephila genus, one that's found in several parts of the world.
Simon Peers, a textile maker who lives in Madagascar, conceived the project. Weaving spider silk is not traditional there; a French missionary dreamed it up over a century ago but failed at it. The only known spider silk tapestry was shown in Paris in 1900 but then disappeared.

The main threads consist of 96 twisted silk lines. The brocaded patterns in the tapestry — stylized birds and flowers — are woven with threads made up of 960 spider silk lines. Peers says they never broke a single strand, yet the tapestry is as soft as cashmere.

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