Veil of Manoppello. Made of Byssus. Byssus can be dyed with a small number of substances, but it is not possible to paint anything on it. This thin, sheer cloth is similar to the texture of a nylon stocking. It is neither water-soluble nor flammable, and is resistant to a variety of chemicals. According to Polish scientists, the fibers can store light in a fashion similar to the way information is stored on a computer.
Chiara Vigo, weaver of sea silk (byssus) with her creation The Lion of Women. http://www.chiaravigo.it/ A Japanese businessman approached Vigo with an offer to purchase her most famous piece, ‘The Lion of Women’, for €2.5 million. It took Vigo four years to stitch the glimmering 45x45cm design with her fingernails, and she dedicated it to women everywhere. “I told him, ‘Absolutely not’,” she declared. “The women of the world are not for sale.”
Museo del bisso, Sant'Antioco, Sardegna. Chiara Vigo, “Maestro di bisso”. Nei suoi lavori arte e artigianato si mescolano creando opere di tessitura e ricamo esposte in musei prestigiosi come il Louvre, il British Museum e il Museo Nazionale di Washington. Di generazione in generazione è stato tramandato il modo di togliere la seta dal mollusco che la produce senza ucciderlo.
Sea silk embroidery on brocaded silk/linen, from the chasuble of St. Yves de Louannec, Louannec, Bretagne, France. Sea silk comes from the three-foot-tall bivalve bissus (Pinna nobilis), which lives in the waters of the Mediterranean. Sadly, the art of spinning the byssus fibres has nearly died out. Someone please save it! Chiara Vigo is the only woman in the world who still has the know-how.