These scarves, shawls, and textiles are made from wild Borocera silk, which is a rare species of silkworm only found in Madagascar. It is called “wild silk” because Borocera silkworms must live in the wild. They cannot be cultivated like the commonly known Mulberry silkworm. The wild silkworms survive by eating leaves off native Tapia trees which live in the central highlands of Madagascar.
The wild silk cocoons (from which the yarn is made from) have a slightly different look than traditional silk. The wild silk has a beautiful sheen and soft hand, and a slight “linen-y” look which gives it a unique appeal, uncommon to traditional silk. For any white yarn in the scarves, we use cultivated Mulberry silk which is naturally white, as we do not bleach the tan colored wild silk. All the silk yarn is hand-spun on a drop spindle which also adds to the special look.
Below, you can see the weavers preparing the wild silk cocoons. They flip the cocoons inside out, stack 5 to 10 cocoons on top of each other to make a silk cocoon "ball". These cocoon balls are boiled in soapy water to remove the silkworm's natural adhesive that binds the fibers together. After this step, the weavers have a fibrous mass of silk which can be spun into yarn on the drop spindle.