On Tuesday, May 31, 2016, 16 students and 2 lecturers from LaSalle College Jakarta visited “Rumah Sutera” a silk farm in Bogor, West Java.
16 students of fashion design and 2 lecturers from LaSalle College Jakarta visited “Rumah Sutera” a silk farm in Bogor, West Java. Rumah Sutera is a place used for education and training about natural silk. In this place we learned how to cultivate the silkworms until the process of making the silk fabric. The type of silkworm they cultivate in the farm is Bombyx Mori with specific dietary called mulberry leaves. We arrived at the farm at 10 AM and we were served with some snacks. We met Mr. Ridho, a staff from Ministry of Forestry Indonesia, who explained useful information about silk-making process before we see the whole process directly. We went into the silk farm in groups and we learned every stage to produce silk threads and silk fabrics from the very beginning.
The first stage of producing silk was raising the silkworms. At this stage there were two phases which were raising small silkworms and raising big silkworms. The small silkworms were very fragile, they were prone to diseases if treated carelessly. They have to be placed in a clean room for 4 days so the small silkworms could grow into big silkworms healthily. The diets for the small silkworms were special, they only eat mulberry leaves up to 5 rows downwards from the bud, and those leaves must be chopped in tiny cuts. After 4 days, the small silkworms would sleep for 24 hours to turn into big silkworms. But unfortunately we couldn’t get to see the big silkworms there as they were already turn into cocoons by the time we visited the farm. The diets for the big silkworm were the same mulberry leaves but it could come from any parts of the leaves even the lowest rows from the stem. The big silkworms would eat for 4 days and after that would sleep about 48 – 56 hours. There were quite some time for the big silkworms to be ready to form cocoons, and this could be depended on weather condition, if the weather was cold it would take longer for them to form cocoon compared to when it’s hot. The cocoon was formed in 2 days and 2 nights.
The second stage was producing silk threads from the cocoons. At this stage they prepared to boil the cocoons in a big bowl to extract the silk fibers. They put the cocoons in 80 – 100⁰C boiling water for 20 minutes to eliminate some kind of wax from the cocoons to get the fibers out. Next, they put 6 - 7 cocoons inside reeling tools to get 1 single silk thread. Afterwards they could adjust the width of the silk threads depending on the end products they want to make.
The third stage or the last stage they provide in the farm was producing silk fabric. They made woven fabrics from the silk thread with weaving loom. They also have dobby loom to create variety of patterns on their silk fabrics. Usually they could finish 3 – 5 meters of silk fabric in one day. We had so much fun visiting the silk farm, we learned a lot seeing the whole silk-making process directly from the experts. Now, we knew where those beautiful silk fabrics we buy in the market came from.