Where Does Silk Come From? Adventures of a Sericulturist

9 June 2021
By Coleen Nimetz
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The Cowichan Valley, where I live, is known for its diverse agricultural practices and is the perfect place to pursue my passion. Not only is the climate suitable for growing mulberry trees, it is also home to members of the wild giant silk moth family, Saturniidae. What better place to pursue my sericulture practice?

Sericulture, the production of silk, is a process whereby an animal (silkworm) serves to convert vegetation (mulberry leaves) into protein. In many parts of the world, the production of silk is an important agricultural endeavour, and the cultivation of vegetation to feed silkworms remains an important commercial process.

image descriptions: many silk cocoons, tumbling out of a basket

Coleen’s Bombyx mori cocoon crop from 2020.

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All images courtesy Coleen Nimitz.

About Coleen Nimetz

Coleen's love of spinning and dyeing, which she teaches throughout North America, has taken her on interesting adventures. Her work as a labourer on a silk farm in northern Laos led her to develop a passion for silk reeling to produce the fine yarns she uses in her knitted lace and miniature cut pile rugs. Her articles on silk and silk reeling have been published in Spin-Off and Ply magazines and her work has appeared in juried shows across Canada and the United States. Coleen holds a Master Spinner Certificate from the Olds College Master Spinner Program. In her spare time, Coleen enjoys ziplining, rearing silk worms and spinning with tigers.

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