Worms that are not worms [silk]

When a Bombyx mori and a mulberry tree love each other very much, they hook up and make adorable silk babies. Literally. The silk worm is a caterpillar that makes its silk cocoon when it attaches to a mulberry tree. Not a beech tree- that would make Tussah… (which doesn’t take dye very well, and won’t look as brilliant). There is quite a lovely story surrounding the discovery of this fiber.

Extracted from “The Story of Silk,” Martha Stewart Living, June, 1999

 “According to Confucius, five thousand years ago the Chinese Empress Xi Ling was having tea under a mulberry tree when a silkworm cocoon fell into her cup. As she fished it out, she noticed that it had begun to dissolve into a mesh of fine thread, marking the discovery of the fiber that would make China one of the greatest powers on earth.

Sericulture – the farming of silkworms and the production of silk – is a complex process, and its secrets once were jealously guarded by China’s royal household. So coddled were silkworms that silk farmers were obliged by law to whisper within earshot of the worms and to refrain from any mention of death. China’s emperors were fanatical in their control: Border guards checked departing travelers for silkworms or eggs, and smugglers were executed on the spot. No wonder since a nine ounce length of purple silk in the Middle Eastern city of Constantinople could cost the equivalent of $23,000.00!”

So silk. Parachutes were once made from silk, it has great ‘tensile strength’. I want an old silk parachute!

Interiors. Focus… Silk hates abrasion. Not the best for furniture one would want to use and live with. Silk also hates the sun. I’m thinking in Arizona,- not so much.

One very useful thing I learned from my textile class: silk is not really dry clean ONLY. It has existed long before the advent of a local dry cleaner. You can turn your garment inside out and gently hand wash. Voila.

Here is what silk can add to a room:

p.s.

I am a naughty student. This will publish from my space planning class, where furniture blocks can wait!

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