Silk Weavers of Madagascar

In a remote village in Central Madagascar, a cooperative of 300 women, practice the art of silk weaving.

For four generations, these artisans have refined their craft. Traditionally, silk weaving techniques were used in the making of woven burial shrouds. Now these artisans are using this traditional technique to create exquisite handcrafted scarfs.

Craft artisans begin by harvesting live silkworms.

The silkworms spin a cocoon and the worms become a silkmoth. The silkmoths lay eggs that are used to harvest new silkworms. 

Once the silkmoth leaves the cocoon, the silk cocoons are collected. Silk cocoons are then placed in a boiling pot of water to extract the silk fibers from within. 

Natural silk fiber is then handspun by women artisans to produce silk thread. 

The handspun silk thread is then dyed using natural plants, bark, berries, and synthetic extracts. Colors are enhanced and set by rubbing ashes into the fiber. The silk thread is then rinsed and dried for use.

Lastly, on a floor loom, women artisans weave each scarf one fiber at a time. The weaving of one scarf is a lengthy process taking up to a week to produce each hand woven scarf.