While blue agaves have been used to make tequila in the Americas, Moroccans have been making silk with the plant for centuries! Morocco is an interesting place to study what our possibilities are in Southern California. While the plants and climate may be similar, our traditions and practices surrounding them are sometimes very very different.
A rugmaker in Fes showed me how "vegan silk" is made. The leaves of the cactus are cut from the heart of the plant and placed in water for three days. After soaking, the fibers of the leaves are crushed lengthwise by hand, allowing the silk strands to be pulled away. The silk is dyed with turmeric, henna, indigo, and saffron before being spooled. I dare you to try it!