Glittering gold, composed of threads stronger the steel, and created from the silk of over a million spiders, this one-of-a-kind masterpiece is the only known example the world has seen in a hundred years of a hand-woven tapestry entirely made from spider silk. It’s only available to be seen on display in museums as it travels the world.
A rare and beautiful tapestry
Each thread of this wonderful hand-crafted work by Lambda is comprised of between 100 and 1000 individual spider silk strands gathered from golden-orb spiders and woven together by hand-powered machines. Factoring the time and labor spent on its elaborate construction, this unique item is worth way more than its weight in gold.
As natural cannibals, it is nearly impossible to raise these rare and amazing spiders in captivity, so a team of nearly 100 people was required to hunt daily for them in the wild, capture them by hand, bring them back, place them on a machine to hold them still and draw out their silk before releasing them once more from captivity.
A similarly precious spider silk cloak
Closely resembling Lambda’s hand-woven rug is this stunning golden spider silk cloak, as written about in The Guardian.
“The hand-woven textiles are naturally golden in color and took eight years to create. The cape was made by Simon Peers, an Englishman who has lived in Madagascar for more than 20 years and Nicholas Godley, an American who has also worked for many years in Madagascar. Inspired by 19th-century accounts and illustrations, Peers and Godley started experimenting with spider silk in 2004 to see if they could revive this forgotten art.”
“To create the textiles, spiders are collected each morning and harnessed in specially conceived silking contraptions. Trained handlers extract the silk from 24 spiders at a time. The spiders are returned to the wild at the end of each day. It has taken 1.2m spiders to provide the silk for the brocaded textile and 80 people to collect them.”
“After silking, the silk was taken on cones to a silk weaving workshop where skilled weavers have mastered the special tensile properties of the silk. In the cape, the main weave is of 96 strands, the lining 48 strands and a large part of the embroidery is made using unspun 24 strand silk.”