Designers Create Golden Cloth from Spider Silk
In Greek mythology, the young weaver Arachne was transformed into a spider by the jealous goddess Athena. All spiders (arachnids) were doomed to spin and weave forever, but never to achieve the beautiful results that had made Athena so envious in the first place. That is maybe until now.
A British designer, Simon Peers, and an American designer, Nicholas Godley, collaborated to create an amazing achievement - a shawl and a cape woven entirely from the web silk of golden silk orb spiders.
The stunning brocade and garment garment are on display in the room display "Golden Spider Silk" at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The museum is world-famous for its design, textile, and historical costume collections. Room exhibits offer the insitution a way of showcasing specialty garments or techniques that don't fit into the scope of a larger exhibit.
Peers and Godley explain the fascinating process behind creating the largest piece of spider silk cloth in the world in a 7-minute video about the display. You can see how "millions of spiders and thousands of hours" created the fabric. Peers and Godley began working with female golden silk orb spiders in Madagascar in 2004, inspired by 19th century accounts of artists attempting to form fabric from spider silk.
An 80-page booklet describing the spider-silk cloth process is also available at the V&A website. If you have the opportunity to visit the V&A, "Golden Spider Silk" is on display in Room 17a through June 5, 2012. Admission is free.