A few years ago, I made a friend, a bright white orb weaver with black spots, as large as a quarter. She lived in the side view mirror of my car.
At first, I could never find her. I only saw that every morning, a brand new web was stretched between the side view mirror of my car and the window, speckled with the previous night’s killings. It wasn’t until I ran an errand at night that I finally spotted her and saw her scurry inside of the side view mirror, where she lived most of the day. Over the course of the summer, I watched her and her web grow. Her web started as a wispy thing that would blow off my car as soon as I turned out of my parking lot and hit 20 miles per hour. By the end of summer, she had strengthened the web to the point that I could make the 1.5 hour drive to Milwaukee at 80 miles per hour and still have a web firmly attached to the side of my car, and little white dots firmly glued to my car’s window when I would brush the web off. She had a summer lover and other little webs started appearing on my car, under the doorhandles, in the opposite mirror. She spent her whole life living on the side of my car, until one morning there was no new web, and I glimpsed behind the mirror to see her curled up in a morning slumber.
And she got me thinking, about how culturally ingrained our fear of spiders is. And she got me thinking, about how culturally ingrained our fear of spiders is. Spiders are spooky at best, venomous and dangerous at worst.
The biggest, most frightening spiders are always the females. They are larger and stronger than the males and do not mate without giving their consent. They build their own homes, they hunt their own food, they rely on no one, while also keeping their local ecosystems in check and balance. They are independent, powerful, single mothers who spin worlds out of silk. As it is with all powerful women, other women and girls are taught to fear and mistrust them, and men are taught to strike them down.
Creating the Globe Weaver series is about creating space for these powerful matriarchs to be undeniably beautiful in the space they take up.