Williamstown, Vermont is the home to one of the most unlikely tourist traps a visitor can come across: Knight’s Spider Web Farm.
Although it is a small operation, it is certainly the largest of its kind in the world, considering that, as far as we know, it is the only one of its kind: A place where humans exhibit the artistic work of spiders, their amazing silken webs.
Less literal than Charlotte’s amazing webs, which extolled the virtues of her dear friend Wilbur the Pig, these webs are strictly abstract art.
Over 16,000 webs have been weaved and collected on the farm since Will Knight opened it in 1977. The webs are produced by orb-weaver spiders in two barns, which are packed with wooden frames which hang from the ceiling. The frames, which are built on grids, are irresistible to the artistic arthropods, and the weave like crazy, creating frameable finished products.
When a web is ready, Knight chases away the artist and begins the collecting process. First, he sprays each web with white paint to increase visibility. Then he passes a wood plaque through the hole, which saves the web. After he adds a few coats of lacquer Knight has a wonderful piece of spider art already mounted and preserved.
Since this is very much a work in progress, there could be not that much to see when you visit. The spiders can either be hiding, or the webs could have been all recently collected. There is, however, a permanent display of webs for sale. They are reasonable priced, and each one is unique, and hand, or rather, spinneret-made.
Unfortunately a fire in the fall of 2016 permanently closed this fascinating place.