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Friday, June 4, 2010

Have you ever walked through spider silk?

Along a sidewalk?  In the woods?  In your garden shed?  It feels a bit sticky, is translucent.  Now imagine that thread is still sticky but is gold----it is from a Nephila madagascariensis, a female Golden Orb spider from Madagascar.  And imagine you had dozens of people collecting a million of these spiders from around the city and countryside over the course of four years.  And then another few dozen spider-techs "milking" the spider silk for a few hours before releasing her, the spider, back into the wild.  And then you took hundreds of individual silk strands and twisted them to make a single thread.  And then you wove those golden threads into a cultural tapestry 11 feet by 4 feet in dimension......

Wouldn't you then have something of singular and mystical beauty!?!

You can see this one of a kind shawl at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City-----and watch a video about its story here.

From the MNH website:  "This unique textile was created drawing on the legacy of a French missionary, Jacob Paul Camboué, who worked with spiders in Madagascar in the 1880s and 1890s. Camboué worked to collect and weave spider silk but with limited success, and no surviving textile is now known to exist. Previously, the only known spider-silk textile of note was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900, and it was subsequently lost."

Which brings us to the second episode of my fabulous new TV show, America's Most Wanted: Arts and Craft case you missed the first episode, click here.