Today the V&A will open the doors of its latest show, and what lies behind them is truly extraordinary.
Golden Spider Silk will display the world’s only large textiles created from silk – spider silk. It is the work of international team based in Madagascar.
Historical records tell us that on a very few occasions in the past, spider silk was successfully harvested but it is a skill that had been lost for over a century – until now.
The statistics surrounding the creation of the items on display, which include a four metre long woven robe, are truly astounding.
The silk of over one million spiders was required to produce the garments. To do this, a team of 80 people had to ‘harness’ the spiders into specially created ‘silking’ contraptions, for which they could only use 24 spiders at a time.
To say this was a painstakingly slow process would be something of an understatement. It required some 23,000 arachnids to yield a single ounce (that’s just 28 grams) of silk.
In all, to produce the silk and weave it into a finished product took the dedicated team five years. Needless to say, the robe is effectively priceless.
Amazingly, no dyes were used to create the vibrant golden hue – the colour is 100% natural.
To this day, scientists are still trying to artificially reproduce this wondrous, naturally occurring fibre, whose properties make it stronger and lighter than steel and even the latest Kevlar, yet allow it to stretch to over 140% of its own length without breaking.
Given the work required by this organic method of harvesting silk, in which the spiders were released back into the wild after they had been ‘silked’, we’re guessing you’ll have to wait for the boys in the lab to have a breakthrough of their own before you’ll be wearing your own spidey-suit.
Today is my mom's birthday. This is my mom and me - a lifetime ago.
I wanted to make something special for her and had found a vintage pillowcase in an antique store and decided that was the something special. Someone had cut off most of the pillowcase and only left the good part along with a little bit above the decorative handwork. In order to even it out I cut part of the top off and added it to the bottom, hence the seam. I added the lace and burgandy underlayment and then quilted it.
Happy Birthday Mom. Mother's hold their child's hand for a moment and their heart for a lifetime. I love you.
Last night we had dinner with my cousin to celebrate both of our birthdays in the month of January. She surprised me by handing me a card and within the card was a small envelope which had a beaded bracelet in it that she had made. It was such a sweet and unexpected gesture.
Isn't it just the prettiest? And with the vintage details on the toggle?
Later that evening when we were home and watching "something", I don't even remember what, on television, I heard someone say "A good artist soothes the spirit". That was exactly what I had felt with the gift from my cousin. She may not have realized what I was feeling at the time but she, as the artist, soothed my spirit. And I thank her for that.
I love winter, I truly do. I love the crisp coldness and the vistas that snow brings along. But as I walked into my bedroom and the sun was just coming up I happened to notice the light on the flowers in the room. And it made me long for spring.
I do miss the colors of spring and summer but until the new season arrives I will enjoy being indoors and what it has to offer - snuggling with a quilt, hot cocoa or tea and soups!
The magic seeds of contentment are planted deep within us. Happiness that the world cannot take away only flourishes in the secret garden of our souls. By tending to our inner garden and uprooting the weeds of external expectations, we can nurture our authentic happiness the way we would nurture something that's beautiful and alive.
As I posted on New Year's I had read that it's good luck for the coming year to start a new project and I did. One year ago I received this linen as a gift from Cindy Needham, http://blog.cindyneedham.com/ and had decided to use it on a wholecloth for my bed.
It's been days and days of marking and I should have had an investment in blue pens long ago to make up for the number I've gone through for this quilt. But yesterday, one year to the date, I finished marking it. Of course there are lots of areas where there appears to be "nothing" and will be "something", tiny feather fills or shells or pebbles.
Now if I can get a good major block of time to get it loaded and quilted - maybe by next January??? And then comes the beading......oh my what have I gotten myself into? Happy quilting, that's what!
What is there to say about birthdays? We all have them. Sometimes we hate them, sometimes we love them. And then to have one on Friday the 13th? Whoa - a double whammy. But as today is my birthday I'll share a couple of photos - then to now - and lastly my thoughts for the day.
In the garden with my brother.
Playing dress-up with my brother.
In the mountains where I belong.
And finally my thoughts for the day.....
Enjoy the ride my friends. It seems to get shorter every day.
I have this small picture box with a pink paper rose inside. It got me to thinking about the beauty within and what it means. We almost always look for beauty outside of ourselves and fail to see the beauty within ourselves or within others.
I then saw this poem written by Eileen Ramage which she called "The Beauty Within".
How many of us have something old? Not an "old" 10 year old car, not an "old" year old pair of tennis shoes that we now wear for mowing but something "vintage", old and broken in. Something that may inspire us and that just feels right. That you would never think of changing.
I have this needlepoint picture hanging in my bedroom. It was made by my grandmother 62 years ago. Now maybe some wouldn't think of this as old. But if you look closely the frame, which is original, is cracked. The backing paper is dry and brittle and beginning to tear. But I love it and I wouldn't change a thing.
Look around you. What do you have that you wouldn't change? What inspires you?