Golden Spider Silk @ V&A

The V&A is currently playing host to a one of the kind cape made from the silk of golden orb-weaver spiders from the mountains of Madagascar. Well hidden in a single room at the back of the museum is an explanation of the process in which this stunning garment was made.

The dazzling material came from the ideas of English Simon Peers, a textile artist and American Nicholas Godley, a designer. Both set up business in Madagascar and became interested in reviving the industry to create this fabric. The huge pieces of cloth are the world’s largest from spider silk, and a shawl also on display was made with the help of more than one million female spiders over a period of five years. It took 80 people to harvest the silk and the spiders were returned to their forest at the end of each day. The silk is extracted using a hand powered machine and is naturally gold in colour. It is a work of art in itself, a remarkably coloured piece of work. As the only example of spider silk and at four metres long, it is barely imaginable what this huge fabric is worth – surely, it must be priceless.

The one of a kind cape is truly stunning and surely not to be missed.

The silk is on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum until 5 June 2012.

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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