Golden spider silk

This exquisitely brocaded, vibrantly coloured shawl and cape are the world’s largest pieces of cloth to be made from spider silk. The silk was painstakingly harvested from more than one million female golden orb-weaver spiders by a large team in the highlands of Madagascar.

Watch Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley discuss the complexity of this unique three year project.

Find out about the process of creating the beautiful cloth itself – from collecting the silk from the spiders, spinning the threads and weaving, to the spectacular work of the embroiderers, including Lanto Razafindrabe and Rondro Faravololona, on the finished piece.

The two textiles represent a colossal undertaking, involving the work of many skilled makers. The spider collectors were supported by Norosoa Ravelomahay and her team at ‘the Spidery’, as well as weavers including Nathalie Robert, Martin Rakotoarimanana and Antoine Rakotoarinala.

The shawl and cape were on display at the V&A from January – June 2012.