Grabbing silk filaments from a pot of boiling cocoons. © Tim Stanley

Grabbing silk filaments from a pot of boiling cocoons. © Tim Stanley

The first stage of making an ikat textile is making the silk thread. This is done by putting the cocoons into  a pot of boiling water in order to kill the caterpillar and to dissolve the sericin, a kind of glue which binds the threads together. The released silk filaments are then extracted using a stick or brush to catch the ends and are then wound by hand into skeins, directly from the pot.

Photograph © Tim Stanley