Monday, January 30, 2012

The Emperor's New Clothes - The Golden Orb Spider Silk Cape

I have a confession to make: I am quite the insectophobe and arachnophobe. However, I was absolutely fascinated when I read about this incredible cape made with silk of more than 1.2 million female Golden Orb-weaver spiders collected in the highlands of Madagascar's island.

Using long poles, a team of 80 people worked to collect the spiders from their webs each morning, whereby the threads they produced were then extracted by hand, once this 20 minute process was complete, they were returned to the wild. Approximately 1.5 kg of the resulting silk was used to produce the work, and the cape took 8 years to develop.

The bright yellow hue of the garment is natural, and has not been modified or dealt with, as the arachnids' threads are naturally of this golden intensity. The cape is covered with 6000 hours worth of embroidery depicting spiders, plants and flowers, and is virtually weightless, making it a real-life cape worthy of 'the emperor' from Hans Christiansen's "The Emperor's New Clothes" fable:

For those living or visiting London, the cape is being exhibited at the V&A museum until June this year.


  1. I don't care for yellow, but the story behind it is pretty astounding.

  2. This is so beautiful <3


  3. Oh Woow.. I wish I could open my closet and see such a beautiful creation in front of me :)
    Amazing work of art!!!

    Thank you so very much for your comments, Brigadeiro and for helping
    Unfortunately the trip to Paris was too short to make it to Colette.. i can´t believe it while typing :=)
    Will check if they have it online available or maybe when I´m there in a few weeks.
    I do not want to bother you asking but you make me curious about what you were writing about your name in the book dearest :)

    Have a a beautiful monday, oh no. .... already tuesday ahead!!!

  4. I am no fan of spiders, but this is fascinating! I was listening to a podcast that discussed the whole process, but hadn't seen the final product until now. The natural color of their silk is absolutely beautiful. I don't think I will make it to London in time to see the exhibit, so thank you for sharing.