The Provenance & Making of Peace Silk
SILK AND SILK BLENDS
Fibres spun after the silk moth has naturally escaped from the cocoon are known collectively as "Peace Silk", similar to the Ahimsa silk promoted by Mahatma Gandhi. Our Silk yarn made of short lengths of silk obtained from silk wastes, pierced cocoons or floss which gives yarn its characteristic brilliance. These silks are spun on special machinery which in some ways is akin to cotton, as it can not be reeled. We source our silk from India where it is known as Ahimsa Silk or Peace Silk a non-violent silk or cruelty free silk. Central to our belief system, we are opposed to “regular” silk where the silkworm is boiled alive and toxic chemicals are used to de-gum the cocoon, our suppliers have created a modern form of rural cooperation where it’s important to them that they treat the silk worms, themselves, their community and their environment with utmost care. By working as a co-op, the production is cleverly decentralized to allow the silk farmers, spinners, weavers etc. to work directly from their own areas. The different units of cocoons, yarns and ready textiles are then connected and stored at a centralized headquarters.THE PEOPLE
The co-op follows a corporate social responsibility platform, where sustainable utilisation of manpower, ecology and natural resources work together. The living standards of the project members are higher, where the weavers have a comfortable lifestyle and their children are attending local schools. The women in the group are able to adapt their new professional skills allowing for social and economic self-dependency.
There are zero pesticides or genetic sprays used on the leaves or host mulberry trees feeding the worms which often creates a double crop. To create biodiversity, they have cultivated rice and potato along with the mulberry host trees. Ecologically, the entire region appears significantly greener than previous times.
During the silk farming stage, where they rear silkworms to produce silk, this occurs mainly in free nature and in some cases, indoors. To keep silkworms safe from harmful insects or birds, large mosquito netting is attached to protect each tree where the silkworms live and breed. In some cases, a Bio-Spray may be used.
SERICULTURE / SILK FARMING
Once the cocoons are ready, they are placed indoors on a bamboo platform. In case of Tussar silk, the cocoons are hung vertically from the ceiling using jute strings. In approximately one week, silk butterflies (moths) hatch out themselves or in some cases the cocoons need to be pierced by well-trained staff to assist the moth. Each cocoon is checked that its empty and is then forwarded to the degumming department. That is why the silk is known as Peace silk.
The process of eliminating “Gum (sericin)” and impurities from raw silk is known as degumming of silk. This is done by adding natural bio soap in the hot boiling water. Occasionally hydrogen peroxide is used to make different shades 3 of silk yarn uniform.
CERTIFICATION by REACH & GOTS
In commercial “regular” silk, toxic metals such as Chromium, Barium, Lead, Iron or Sodium magnesium are used during the degumming process of ´silk- weighting´ to make silk yarns heavier. These chemicals are not used or permitted in our production.
Four out of our twenty power looms have been upgraded with solar powered motors. Spinning and reeling is processed either manually or with solar machines. This makes 70% of our spinning and weaving operation zero-carbon. Packing and storing of the product is mainly done with jute bags or reclaimed cardboards. Transport of cocoons or ready yarns to weavers in different areas is done by public transport state roadways or Indian railway. Water usage is minimised in our production process with reclaiming used water by filtering the old used water. Residue from cocoon degumming is used as compost for agriculture.