“ Non–violence is a quality not of the body, but of the soul” – Mahatma Gandhi .
Conventional silk is produced by boiling silkworms alive in their cocoons, thereby killing some 3,000 worms to produce one pound of silk. On the other hand, Ahimsa silk, also known as non-violent or peace silk, is a sustainable and ethical approach to the production of silk which does not involve the killing of the silk worms.
In conventional silk production, by preventing the moths escaping, the continuity of the silk thread is maintained thus making a smoother finer silk.
Ahimsa silk is produced by allowing the silk moth to be released from the cocoon before the silk is reeled. The piercing of the cocoon by the moth results in many pieces of yarn, not one continuous thread as in conventional silk production. Great expertise is needed to spin together the shorter strands of silk into one single thread. This highly skilled process makes this silk more expensive than regular silk.
Here at asunsti we have an organic Ahimsa silk, which is from a forest-based industry; the yarn having been produced in a completely untouched natural environment, with the silk worms being reared outdoors on live trees. They are not fed plucked leaves. The moths are allowed to escape naturally from the cocoon before the silk is reeled. This exposure to nature results in a truly wild silk with a wonderful multi-tonal look.
We also have a farmed Ahimsa silk, where the moths are released by hand from the cocoon and are fed on plucked leaves.
Silk spun and woven in this way retains all the properties lost during conventional silk production. Ahimsa silk is less lustrous than the silk from normal production, due to the shorter strands. However, it is incredibly soft, has a slubbed texture and a fabulous drape. It is warm in the winter and breathes in the heat, so making it comfortable to wear all year round.
This is an ethical and completely handmade process, which provides a much-needed source of income to marginalized artisans across India.