Day 6

Meet the owner of Knight's Spider Web Farm, where you definitely don't want to pet the livestock

A farm of spiders might sound like a nightmare, but at Knight's Spider Web Farm in Vermont they see spiders as creators of things of beauty. Owner Terry Knight explains how they capture the webs and turn them into art.

'They are hairy. They're not the cutest things. They're not little Charlottes,' says Terry Knight

A sign to protect the spiders is displayed at Knight's Spider Web Farm in Williamstown, Vt. (Knight's Spider Web Farm)
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Some people won't go anywhere near the barn or shop. But most people who visit Knight's Spider Web Farm in Williamstown, Vt., marvel at the webs and enjoy learning about the spiders from farm owner Terry Knight.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with being afraid of spiders. They are hairy. They're not the cutest little things. They're not little Charlottes," Knight said, referring to Charlotte from the children's book Charlotte's Web.

But the hairy arachnids did not stop Knight and her husband from pursuing a truly unique profession – one they stumbled upon by accident.

From spider to web

In 1969, Knight and her late husband Will packed up their family and moved from Brooklyn to an old farmhouse in Vermont.

Less than a decade later, her husband lost his job and the Knights began looking for other ways to make money. Will Knight was a woodworker, and Terry Knight painted and did crafts as a hobby.

The late Will Knight, accompanied by two young visitors, studies a collected and mounted spider web at Knight's Spider Web Farm in Vermont. (Knight's Spider Web Farm)

As the adage goes, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But in the case of the Knights, life gave them spiders so they made spider webs.

Or a spider web farm, to be more exact.

The Knights' old farmhouse porch had always had a lot of spiders, and the couple had already shared an appreciation of the intricate beauty of spider webs. So when Terry Knight read that you could collect spider webs, the couple got to work collecting and preserving the webs on their farm.

The webs are sprayed with white paint. Then, they are carefully pressed onto a finished piece of wood while they are still sticky. The web is then further preserved by coating it with Varathane.

The late Will Knight working on mounted spider webs at Knight's Spider Web Farm. (Knight's Spider Web Farm)

Since 1977, Knight's Spider Web Farm has sold more than 12,000 webs.

Every spring, they try to help birth more than 1,000 spiders. They watch for spider eggs and carefully move them to the barn area where they hope the webs will be built.

"We never got wealthy on it, but at the same time people started to recognize that he was doing something that was unique," said Knight.

"It was by accident, definitely by accident. And he ended up doing what he loved."


To hear the full interview with Terry Knight, download our podcast or click Listen above.

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