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Sticky layers and shimmering weaves: a study of two human uses of spider silk

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journal contribution
posted on 28.10.2016 by Eleanor Morgan
Spiders can produce up to seven different types of silk, each with different properties—some silks are sticky and elastic, while others are dry and tough. This paper examines and compares two ways in which humans have used this diverse material to design fabrics: the weaving of dry silk threads, and the layering of complete spider webs. The study investigates how these fabrics are formed by both the properties of the material and differing human perceptions of it, and the actions of the spiders themselves. It proposes that in order to develop a broad ecological approach to design and design history, attention should be given to the role of non-human animals.

Funding

Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the UCL Graduate School.

History

School

  • The Arts, English and Drama

Department

  • Arts

Published in

Journal of Design History

Volume

29

Issue

1

Pages

8 - 23

Citation

MORGAN, E., 2015. Sticky layers and shimmering weaves: a study of two human uses of spider silk. Journal of Design History, 29 (1), pp. 8-23.

Publisher

Oxford University Press on behalf of The Design History Society (© The Author)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2015

Notes

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Design History following peer review. The version of record MORGAN, E., 2015. Sticky layers and shimmering weaves: a study of two human uses of spider silk. Journal of Design History, 29 (1), pp. 8-23 is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epv019

ISSN

0952-4649

eISSN

1741-7279

Language

en

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