Cocoon Strippings

Cocoon strippings are a waste product from the silk industry and are basically silk fibres stripped from the silk cocoons with the natural gum still adhering to them. Moisture and heat activate the gum, allowing the fibres to be bonded together. Often used to make silk paper, either alone, or encapsulating other fibres, such as throwsters waste, Angelina, or snippets of thread.

The raw fibres are teased apart and laid down in thin layers, similar to the way that handmade wet felt is prepared. The best surface to prepare them on is baking parchment. Greaseproof paper should be not used, as the gum in the strippings can adhere to it. Any additional fibres that the creator wished to be incorporated are spread over the top layer. Thicker threads or fibres may need a thin, additional layer of the strippings over them to help secure and bond with the silk.

A fine spray of moisture is then spritzed over the fibre – water, or a water-based ink or paint can be used to colour the result. A second sheet of baking parchment is laid over the now damp fibres, and a hot iron applied to the top, pressing the fibres together and distributing the moisture. The resulting piece of silk paper can be left with raw edges, or the raw edges can be turned under and pressed to create a sharp edge.

Samples of silk paper made from Cocoon Strippings – one incorporating Angelina fibres, the other using Throwsters waste.