A Cape made from Golden Spidersilk
Das V&A-Museum in London zeigt noch bis zum Sommer ein Cape von Simon Peers und Nicholas Godley aus den Fäden von 1,2 Millionen Goldene Seidenspinnen: „A golden cape woven from the silk of over a million wild spiders is on show at the V&A museum in London. Working in Madagascar, Simon Peers from the UK and Nicholas Godley from the USA created a hand-operated machine for harvesting silk from the spiders based on a design from over 100 years ago. Golden orb spiders were collected from the wild, harnessed to the machine so the silk could be extracted and set free again at the end of each day. It takes about one week for the spiders to regenerate their silk so the same spiders can be used again and again. 23,000 spiders are needed to create about 28g of silk, which is naturally golden in colour.“
Die Story ist nicht neu, das Video oben vom Museum aber schon. Aus einem 2009er Artikel der New York Times: Gossamer Silk, From Spiders Spun.
Only the females produce the silk, which is renowned for both its striking saffron color and its tensile strength (five to six times stronger than steel by weight). But these females are notoriously cannibalistic and if left to their own devices will quickly reduce the entire silk assembly line to arachnid carnage. They don’t seem to want to work in the winter, and when it rains too much, their silk becomes viscous and cannot be used. And if the spiders in the factory begin to disappear mysteriously, it might be because, in Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world, it is believed by some that eating these spiders, fried, is good for the throat or just good eating. […]
After many fits and starts, the two men put together an almost Victorian spider-silk harvesting operation that hired local people to comb the countryside with long bamboo poles, carefully collecting live female spiders — about 3,000 a day — in boxes. The spiders were taken to Mr. Godley, who set up a system in which workers, all women, would handle each spider, gently pulling out the thread that dangled from its spinnerets. (The spiders bite if provoked, but their bites are not dangerous.)
The spider would then be placed in a harness, with 23 others, and sit more or less patiently as a spool tugged the rest of its web out in continuous threads that could sometimes stretch as long as 400 yards before the spider had given its all.