death by boiling so we can wear silk
This post is dedicated to the silkworms at Les Chantiers Ecoles Silk Farm in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Artisans D’Angkor helps young Cambodians from poor rural areas learn traditional craft skills. They learn wood and stone carving, gilding, lacquering, silk painting and other traditional crafts.
They also learn sericulture - the ancient practice of growing silkworms and harvesting the long threads they produce by unraveling their cocoons.
The stages in the labour intensive process from hatchling to completed silk products are ...
The moths lay the eggs that hatch into caterpillars.
Silkworms eat the leaves of white mulberry trees in huge quantities.
It takes 30 to 40 days for tiny hatchlings to grow into adult caterpillars, and they increase in weight by an incredible fourteen thousand times!!!!!!!
When they are full grown they stop eating and spin their cocoons. Seven to ten days later the caterpillars will have completed their cocoons.
Next step is the process of extracting the silk. The cocoons are heated to kill the pupae. (If this were not done the pupae would turn into moths and break the thread as they emerge from the cocoon.)
Next the spinning stage: threads are unwound and reeled together, forming a single length of strong thread.
The silk threads are dyed with a range of traditional vegetable dyes.
The dyed threads are then woven into silken material of varying colours and patterns.