Spider cloth displayed at the American Museum of Natural History
“To produce this unique golden cloth, 70 people spent four years collecting golden orb spiders from telephone poles in Madagascar, while another dozen workers carefully extracted about 80 feet of silk filament from each of the arachnids. The resulting 11-foot by 4-foot textile is the only large piece of cloth made from natural spider silk existing in the world today.”
The project was modeled on the work of a Victorian-era French missionary, Jacob Paul CambouÃ©, who invented a machine to extract silk from up to 24 spiders at a time.
AMNH 3:29 video
Golden silk orb-weavers (Nephila madagascariensis)
Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.