Morus is an international collaboration between Kleopatra Tsali, Hanna Norrna and Irini Gonou, taking place in Gotland, Naxos, Athens, Soufli, Alexandroupoli Gothenburg and Stockholm.
The Morus team is working with the artistic, social, historical and ecological dimensions of silk. We begin in sericulture, breeding worms in our homes. We spin thread from the cocoons, for weaving, creating artworks, discussions and workshops. Our structure follows the cycle of the worms, and the process can be done without any special equipment, with respect for the environment. We work site specific, investigating the local silk productions in the past and in the present. The project involves local communities and we aim to invite people from different backgrounds to tell their silk stories. Through the Morus network, small communities of knowledge exchange can grow and create empowerment.

On the island of Gotland, plantations of tens of thousands of mulberry trees were established through the initiative of The Silk Society between 1830-1840. Women of the aristocracy produced silk on their own farms, and a group of women on the edges of society worked within the silkworm-breeding at an institution called Arbetshuset in Visby.
The Morus team will work together on Gotland in July 2023, to explore the origins of the local silk production, going back to the Middle Ages when the first mulberry trees were brought to the island with monks from southern Europe. Our exhibition at Roma Kungsgård (19.7.23-6.8.23) takes place at a site where mulberry trees were grown in orangeries during the 18th century. The gallery space Apoteket used to be a pharmacy, which links us to the women who used herbs and threads with medical purposes, and the accusations against them during the witch trials in Visby.

Plantations om mulberry trees from 1830, Kungsladugård, Visby 2022

Litography by Pehr Arvid Säve, from the book "Gotland och Wisby i taflor" 1858

In September 2023, the Morus team will work together in Alexandroupoli and Soufli. The city of Soufli played a very important role in the silk production in Greece from the end of the 19th century until the end of World War II and the introduction of synthetic fibers. Nowadays the ruins of the old factories stand together with the contemporary establishments.
Soufli is a multicultural locus right on the borders with Bulgaria and Turkey, thus it becomes the home for different minorities. During our stay, we hold thread-making workshops with minority schools in the area, using about silk-work as a common ground for individuals from different communities to share their stories. We want to explore the local narrations surrounding silk: the women who used to work in the silk factory and the young women who work there now, the story of the holy mulberry tree that grows inside a Muslim temple yard in a Pomak village, the houses of the families that still have a small room called cocoon-house to breed the worms - these are all elements that show the existence of a strong silk culture in the area.

We collaborate with the Agricultural University of Athens, as a scientific partner and educator. The project is supported by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee.

Bombyx mori breaking out of the cocoon, photo: Irini Gonou

Upcoming thread-making workshops:

July 15    Blessellska gården, Fårö
July 20   DBW:s Botaniska trädgård, Visby
July 22   Roma Kungsgård, Roma

The workshops open to the public and free of charge. For more information, please get in touch: