It took four years, 80 volunteers, and a whole mess of spiders, but a group of weavers, led by a textile maker named Simon Peers, created an absolutely amazing tapestry. The 11-by-4-foot tapestry is made entirely of spider silk, and is currently on display at the American Museum of Modern History in New York.
The golden silk comes from the golden-orb weaving spider of the Nephila genus. The aforementioned Peers consulted with fashion expert Nicholas Godley before travelling to Madagascar to begin the daunting task. The volunteers would round up the spiders for silking, which would begin around 10 a.m. The silking process takes about 20 minutes, and involves a small machine designed to gently hold the spider in place while it is being silked. Once the spider is finished, it is released back into nature.
Godley and Peers estimate they spent approximately $500,000 of their own money to produce the beautiful tapestry. The American Museum of Modern History will be showcasing the tapestry over the next few months. [NPR]