For a long time, it was unknown to Ela Nord that the mulberry silkworm has not been found in the wild for thousands of years, as their survival relies on human care and feeding.
“The Bombyx mori silkworm has been bred on trays of mulberry leaves (hence the name 'mulberry silkworm') in China for nearly 5000 years. Long before the rise of the Roman Empire, when tribes in Europe still lived in primitive huts, the silkworm had already been fully domesticated.”
Ela Nord’s cocoons are sourced from breeders who enable the butterfly to hatch, therefore, my cocoons maintain an opening that is integrated into the final pieces. However, some moths do not hatch, as these cocoons are rare, she is always happy when she finds one.
Japanese Oak Silk Moths (Antheraea yamamai) mainly exist in India. Traditionally, the wild collection is practiced in India, (hence the name "wild silk") and their cocoons are abandoned by the moths but are collected from the forests for further processing. Silk farming in this region is often practiced in the spirit of "Ahimsa" (Sanskrit: the non-harming). The Tussah Silk Moth are farmed sustainably, in a practice influenced by the philosophy of non-violence of Mahatma Gandhi, among others.
“Mainly two methods are used. First, the cocoons of the silkworms are processed only after the moth has hatched. The cocoon is dissolved by the butterfly's body fluids. A hole is etched into it through which the moth can escape. The cocoon is thus damaged, and it is no longer possible to unwind a continuous filament. The relatively short pieces of the thread must first be spun to enable further processing (in weaving). This method is also used to create the traditional wild tussah silk fabrics.
Ecological and social aspects
“If silk farming is carried out as organic or biodynamic farming and the relevant criteria are met, certification can be obtained by following EU 834/2007, the so-called organic regulation, as "controlled organic livestock farming" (kbT). The fodder for the caterpillars is grown without herbicides and pesticides and the animal husbandry without hormones and the use of other chemical agents. Raw silk extraction, uncoiling, and boiling must also be done by following kbT. In addition to the incomparable properties and attractive appearance of the natural fibre silk, this means that the wearer or purchaser can afford the luxury of an exclusive garment with a clear conscience.”
(Passages quotes: © Dr. Matias Langer 2014)