Eight years and 2m arachnids later, spider silk fabrics go on show in London

6 September 2021
Mark Brown, Arts Correspondent

Garments made from silk of golden orb-weavers form part of exhibition of curious objects connected to natural world

Tropical female spiders are the size of a child’s hand, they can eat their puny male relatives for lunch and produce extraordinary golden silk that can be made into textiles like nothing else on the planet.

That is the idea. But the execution of such a project was far more complicated. Around 2 million spiders had to be collected from the highlands of Madagascar and their silk harvested over eight years to produce just four textiles.

It was, agreed textile designer Simon Peers, a crazy endeavour to embark on in the first place. “Over several hundred years you’ll find strange people who have tried to do this and every time it has been found to be mad,” he said.

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