06/22/2011 07:53 pm ET | Updated Aug 22, 2011

Art Made of Spider Silk?

An imperial treasure that appears to be spun of gold is quite the stylish show-stopper, enough to enchant the most discerning trendsetters. This is spun gossamer -- the stuff of dreams and all royalty. Others have dreamed of wearing a dress or anything made of spider silk, but no one has really been able to do it until now...

A spectacular golden textile, conceived and created by Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley in Madagascar from silk thread collected from over one million Golden Orb spiders (Nephila madagascariensis) went on exhibit on June 3 at the Art Institute of Chicago, the country's second largest art museum after having completed a very successful showing at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York, where it was regarded as one of the most popular stand-alone exhibitions in recent years.

Numerous attempts over centuries to harness the silk of spiders and make thread and weave to produce a cloth from it have been made -- imagine what the next step would be... Could it be gloves? A dress? The fact that the artists made this textile starts one down the road of thinking, what if they made something you could wear? The last person who had anything made of spider silk was Napoleon III's wife, Empress Eugenie -- and the gloves were small and grey, not the dazzling gold of the shawl that the artists made, which is at the Venice Biennale right now. But nothing will ever be like the original tapestry, which is a priceless Work of Art.

Only two rare, one-of-a-kind pieces exist at the moment, a shawl that Nick and Simon made for the unveiling of the spider silk tapestry when it debuted at the AMNH is 2009 -- that shawl is now in Venice at the Fondazione di Cini's exhibition on San Maggiore called "Penelope's Labour."

The artists also unveiled a new scarf made of spider silk -- Opera Scarf -- just for the opening celebration at the Art Institute of Chicago in Gallery 137, where it is the last chance to see it in the U.S.. This extraordinary textile will be exhibited next at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London beginning January 2012. This exquisite work of art casts its own spell and fascination on the viewer, leaving no one indifferent...