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 The Anglo Saxon Hoard found in Staffordshire

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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo Saxon Hoard found in Staffordshire   Fri 03 Feb 2012, 14:34

All those spiders and all that time and labour to create, just imagine how expensive one would be to buy! Wonder if it would keep the rain out though.......
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo Saxon Hoard found in Staffordshire   Fri 03 Feb 2012, 22:18

One thing I haven't understood is how they have made the spider silk "non-sticky". Anyone who has attempted to clear cobwebs from their house knows how tenaciously sticky they are - but then that is, after all, one of their primary functions. Webs are not just simply nets to catch prey, but are sophisticated sticky nets that hold the prey in place until the spider can get there.

As I say, no mention on how they rendered the raw spiders' thread "unsticky", so they could handle, spin, and then ultimately weave it. I'm very much intrigued by that.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo Saxon Hoard found in Staffordshire   Fri 03 Feb 2012, 22:53

Spiders spin 2 types of thread - the radial parts of the web, and the threads they hang from, aren't sticky, the spirals in and out are sticky. Presumably the spider is tricked into producing non-sticky ones by the "milking" process.
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo Saxon Hoard found in Staffordshire   Sat 04 Feb 2012, 04:24

The article was a bit vague, not a great deal of thought and effort went into researching the piece so it really posed more questions than it answered. Exactly how is the silk extracted? How are spiders tricked into producing the silk? Is there a process of treatment of the silk before it can be woven? Can it be woven in the same way as traditional threads? The silk is naturally gold in colour, but as that colour only looks good on a few people, does the silk absorb dyes for alternative colours? Can the fabric be cut and sewn in the same way as traditional fabrics?
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo Saxon Hoard found in Staffordshire   Sat 04 Feb 2012, 10:27

@Islanddawn wrote:
The article was a bit vague, not a great deal of thought and effort went into researching the piece so it really posed more questions than it answered. Exactly how is the silk extracted? How are spiders tricked into producing the silk? Is there a process of treatment of the silk before it can be woven? Can it be woven in the same way as traditional threads? The silk is naturally gold in colour, but as that colour only looks good on a few people, does the silk absorb dyes for alternative colours? Can the fabric be cut and sewn in the same way as traditional fabrics?

Perhaps it's all a closely guarded secret, ID.

If you click on the "More on this Story" at the side of the main article, you can see several extra photos (eight in all), including some lovely close-up shots of the beautifully intricate design of the cape. The little embroidered spiders are superb! The final picture shows a (real) spider actually spinning with the golden thread.
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo Saxon Hoard found in Staffordshire   Sat 04 Feb 2012, 11:01

I found this, Temp, a previous piece of material woven from the spider silk with a bit more information.
http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/spidersilk/

The video here is really interesting, it shows the spiders being milked as well a historical context and the 'science bit'..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFF68_bME9E

You will love it!
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo Saxon Hoard found in Staffordshire   Sat 04 Feb 2012, 11:32

@ferval wrote:
I found this, Temp, a previous piece of material woven from the spider silk with a bit more information.
http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/spidersilk/

The video here is really interesting, it shows the spiders being milked as well a historical context and the 'science bit'..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFF68_bME9E

You will love it!

I did! Thank you so much for the links, ferval - you're a star finding all that!

The YouTube video was particularly informative - I wonder what happened to the set of spider-silk bed hangings that have "disappeared"?

I'm even more determined to get to the V&A again soon - just wish I could make it to the Chicago Institute of Art as well.

PS Felt a bit sorry for the spider, though, when they wrapped her in that bandage thing and pushed her into the milking machine. I bet she was well disgruntled.
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo Saxon Hoard found in Staffordshire   Sun 05 Feb 2012, 05:32

I suppose the bandage was necessary to keep all her legs tucked in, otherwise she would have been injured when they shoved her into that little hole.

Thanks for the links and extra information ferval, brilliant stuff. I've watched the man at the loom a number of times especially, never fails to fascinate how they keep all thoses threads in order in their minds so as to produce an intricately patterned piece.
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The Anglo Saxon Hoard found in Staffordshire

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