Object Lessons

September 2021
The Art Newspaper

Shawl made from the silk of golden orb-weaver spiders

This is one of only four known textiles produced from the silk of golden orb-weaver spiders (Nephila Madagascariensis) – and three of them (two shawls and a lambda) are included in this exhibition of natural wonders at Oliver Hoare.

The laborious process of making them is mind-boggling–it has taken the textile designer Simon Peers and entrepreneur Nicholas Godley almost 20 years of work, leading a team that harvested the silk of more than two million spiders. They spet 15 years researching 18th and 19th century methods, designed equipment to extract the silk, then embarked on eight years of production, employing a team of 80 people to search the Madagascan highlands every morning for spiders (which were returned unharmed)…

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