I’ve always considered traveling a learning process but it became a miracle when I was witnessing the journey of a silkworm. We are using so many times metaphors about the metamorphosis of a butterfly because it’s so inspirational for us, people, but do we really understand this process? I was lucky to visit an organic silk farm in Jamshedpur and understand a little bit more about this beautiful creature. This visit was possible because of my colleague, Karen Camilleri, who studied fashion design and became an activist for sustainable fashion.
Basically, the cycle of a silkworm’s life has these stages: eggs – caterpillar – cocoon – moth – eggs. In the process of making the silk, the heat kills the silkworms and the water makes the cocoons easier to unravel. Silkworms are boiled alive to obtain silk fiber to unravel the silk from the cocoon. The process of silk production is known as sericulture and it’s highly criticized by animal welfare because the moth is rarely leaving the cocoon alive.
In Jamshedpur, we visited COCCCON Natural avant-garde Textile, a revolutionary alternative of producing silk organically and respecting non-violence. What is the main difference? In this case, cocoons are pierced and trimmed so that the butterfly can fly away and not be scalded in boiling water. The broken silk filaments are hand twisted and traditionally weaved, which gives it its distinctive character. The organic silk is made by disadvantaged people from the rural poor in Jharkhand, eastern India.
I had the chance to see all the stages of a silkworm in their farm and I honestly was amazed about the beauty of the cycle of life. I saw the caterpillars eating leaves and some of them starting the process of building the cocoon. I saw the cocoons room and some beautiful butterflies next to their cocoons even if it’s not their season. I saw the tree farm for the butterflies offering them an environment to live.
I feel grateful to see one of the most beautiful miracles of life and to understand that things can be done right if we care enough. I will always remember the journey of a silkworm when I will be down, without motivation because this is one of the most wonderful examples of how beautiful life is.