After 4 years a gold colored tapestry has been made out of spider silk. I’ve put together articles on the tapestry, information on the golden silk orb spider, and on efforts to develop man-made spider silk.
For four years weavers in Madagascar harnessed golden orb spiders to produce silk, and and then made a beautiful 11’ by 4’ weaving out of it. The golden orb spider’s silk has tensile strength six times stronger than steel by weight. (Which you’d know if you try to break the webbing of golden orb spiders.) The silk and tapestry is a rich golden color and is the first recorded example of a hand-woven brocaded textile made entirely from the silk of these spiders.
1 Million Spiders Make Golden Silk for Rare Cloth, Wiredscience, Sept. 23, 2009
Spider men weave silken tapestry, ScienceNews, September 22, 2009
Gossamer Silk, From Spiders Spun, New York Times, Set. 22, 2009
Gold silk orb weavers are found in warmer regions, including Australia, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. (In the US its range is from North Carolina to Texas. We’ve heard them called Banana Spiders in Florida.) The spun silk is a pattern of spirals… Read more here: Golden silk orb-weaver
And then you have researchers trying to develop man-made spider silk. While there has been some success in producing spider silk proteins, spinning a fiber comparable to a spider’s has been difficult. One company, Nexia, now has a man-made product: Man Made Spiders Silk, Jan. 2002.
Then there’s the prospect of similar spun fibers from hagfish slime!: Shoals Marine Lab researchers look to hagfish for ‘biosteel’, Aug. 14, 2009