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Rare spider silk textile created
Aug '11
A woven textile measuring four metre in length has been prepared from silk of over one million female Golden Orb spiders that were collected in the highlands of Madagascar. The naturally golden hand-woven brocaded textile is popularly known as Malagasy textile.

While 80 persons worked for around five years to collect the spiders, it took more than four years to develop the textile.

The textile would be exhibited at Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London on January 25, 2012 alongside a new golden cape which is being woven and embroidered in Madagascar at present.

Experts at the V&A say that such spider silk was last woven in 1900 for the Paris Exposition Universelle, but it does not exist now. Thus, the rare spider silk textile will be displayed in Europe for the first time after a gap of over a century.

In order to prepare the Malagasy textiles, every morning spiders are collected and channelized in specially created 'silking' contraptions. Skilled spider handlers then simultaneously extract silk from 24 spiders.

At the end of the day, the spiders are released into their natural surroundings. This is different form the process used in creation of mulberry silk where pupa is killed in its cocoon.

Following the 'silking' process, silk is shifted on cones to the silk weaving workshop where expert weavers have knowledge about the exceptional tensile properties of silk.

Around 96 spun strands of spider silk goes in preparing each wrap of the said textile, while every brocading weft comprises of 10 such threads, thus making 960 strands in all.

Usually, 23,000 spiders produce around one ounce of silk. However, the highly labour intensive nature of the job makes the textile very rare and valuable.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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