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Golden spider silk cape at the V and A

April 17, 2012

I saved this special exhibit at the V&A for a separate post, because it’s just so captivating and crazy.

This is a cape woven and embroidered entirely from spider silk. The silk from over 1.2 million spiders, to be more exact (but don’t feel sad if you’re a spider lover – they were all released into the wild afterwards to roam free). It took four years and hundreds of people to make and it’s now on free display at the museum until June.

The best thing about this is that the yellow colour is entirely natural. The silk from the spiders comes out in this shimmering golden saffron shade, which is stunning when you see it in person.

The embroidery patterns are incredible, with raised spiders and foliage running all over the cape.

There’s a page on the V&A website about it here. You should definitely watch the video which gives you a great overview of the process and the finished object. Apparently the silk is so smooth and light the cape almost feels weightless. I loved this quote from one of the creators:

‘This isn’t about fashion. This is about creating something magical’

If you’re anywhere near London and you’re interested in textiles, I urge you to go and see this fairy-tale object. It reminds me of the grandmother princess spinning away at an invisible thread in the Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald.

It makes me happy that something so ridiculous, beautiful, and totally unique now exists.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2012 10:20 AM

    It’s amazing, isn’t it? I love the way it kind of glows. x

  2. April 19, 2012 1:06 PM

    Wow, that colour is stunning, even as a photo & then on a screen. It must be incredible in real life. Must visit so thanks for that.

  3. Leah permalink
    April 18, 2012 9:00 AM

    Despite not loving spiders, this is stunning. Thanks for sharing

  4. April 17, 2012 4:24 PM

    Holy cow! That’s so interesting! Thanks for sharing this (and the gorgeous photos)!

  5. April 17, 2012 3:07 PM

    That is insanely beautiful – I hope I can get down to see it myself. Thank you for sharing the magic!

  6. Jane's sew & tell permalink
    April 17, 2012 2:26 PM

    I went to see it too and thought it was wonderful!

  7. April 17, 2012 1:56 PM

    I think you’re absolutely right to call this ‘fairytale’. There’s a story just waiting to be written here. Thank you for sharing this gorgeous exhibit. I must go and see it.

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