silk seeds

Projects abound in my studio and life right now, but an extra special one I've been thinking about since last fall has begun to manifest.

200 silk seeds arrived in the mail yesterday.

Don't they look a bit like something you'd sprinkle on bread? They are silkworm eggs and will probably hatch in the next week or so as long as they are kept between 78-88°F. At the moment the pilot light of the range in my kitchen proves to be the source for an effective, if untraditional incubator.

I picked up a book to help illustrate the tiny scale of these dots glued to a petri dish and, unexpectedly, the page I opened to says this:
That's also to say that usually -but not always- the piece you produce tomorrow will be shaped, purely and simply, by the tools you hold in your hand today. In that sense the history of art is also the history of technology. The frescos of pre-Renaissance Italy, the tempera paints of Flanders, the plein aire oils of Southern France, the acrylics of New York City -each successive technology imparted a characteristic color and saturation, brushstroke and texture, sensuality or formality to the art piece. Simply put, certain tools make certain results possible.
Your tools do more than just influence the appearance of the resulting art -they basically set limits upon what you can say with an art piece.
-Bayles & Orland, Art & Fear, pg. 58, 1993

This concept is central to my fascination with materials and one of the reasons I decided to raise silkworms from egg to silk in the first place. It feels very much a natural evolution from my other spun work where I spin thread by hand to hand-raising a creature that spins its own thread. Beyond simply reeling the silk at the end, I hope the process of raising them will prove a few of my hypotheses true while revealing unexpected possibilities. I'm hoping as well for luck at being a good cat(erpillar) shepherdess.

My local friends, please keep an eye out for mulberry trees and let me know where you see them. I'm beginning a map and they'll be hungry when they wake and hungrier still by the end of a month.

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