As Developed by Me Over Four Years of Trial and Error

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

In January 2016 I became a full-time freelance writer. I can now admit I didn’t have a clue what I was letting myself in for.

Just to be clear: I love what I do. But ‘being a writer’ involves a lot less writing and a lot more admin and juggling of revenue streams than I’d bargained for. Those revenues include royalties from book sales, talks, selling books directly at those talks (I buy the books myself and then sell them on if there isn’t an official bookseller present), consultancy…

From fungi to spider silk, the hunt for sources of climate-friendly clothes and leather alternatives is getting creative

Credit: taviphoto/Getty Images

Around the turn of this millennium, when everyone else was busy worrying about the Y2K bug, researchers at Nexia, a secretive biotechnology firm based in Montreal, had other, bigger critters on their minds. Goats, to be precise. Although they looked just like regular goats and were given cute names like Sugar and Spice, they were, in fact, extraordinary. They had been genetically modified with spider DNA, so that their milk contained silk proteins that could potentially be spun into thread softer than the finest Egyptian cotton, and stronger than Kevlar.

In the end, spider-goat silk never took off. Nexia…

Kassia St Clair

Best-selling author of THE SECRET LIVES OF COLOR & THE GOLDEN THREAD. Bylines in The Economist, TLS, Elle Deco, World of Interiors, here. Culture|Design|History

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