Dr. Teena Jennings-Renenaar has always been drawn to the silk moth like, well, a moth to a flame . . .
A University of Akron professor of Family and Consumer Sciences, and
one of the primary academicians involved in developing and teaching
TNNA's acclaimed internship program (PiPN), Dr. Jennings has been
involved in fibers since her childhood.
Recently highlighted in the Akron Beacon Journal,
she first learned the technique of creating silk from the native women
in Madagascar. Now she's taken what she's learned from them, and has
developed a process of harvesting silk fiber from the cocoon of
America's largest wild moth, the giant cecropia, indigenous to the
Appalachian region of the United States.
Dr. Jennings notes this new silk is created using a technique that
doesn't harm the moth, a process unlike that used in far east silk
production. The result is a fiber with a less lustrous sheen and more
variegated color, but just as luxurious.
This new silk is still in the development stage, but Dr. Jennings
envisions a future in which this moth and the resulting fibers, will
become a cottage industry in the region, providing opportunities for
growth and development.
In the meantime, Dr. Jennings continues to assist the women of
Madagascar by acting as the point person for a cooperative that imports
and sells their hand-made silk products. For more information, please
contact Dr. Jennings at <tj9 @ uakron.edu>. (please remove spaces
Someday, perhaps, she'll be selling products made from this new, unique fiber as well.