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Cork, the great unknown

Tapón de corcho
Photo by Leilani Elderts.

 

Lately I was surprised by how many people in the craft shows that I’ve attended were asking me about cork. Many call it “rubber” (which has nothing to do with cork) and most of them don’t know where it comes from or what are its properties.

Cork is obtained directly from the bark of the oak tree, almost by hand and in a very environmentally friendly manner. During extraction the tree is not damaged, allowing the bark to regenerate over time. This process is called “saca del corcho” and is performed mainly in the summer months for optimal extraction.

 

Cork oak grove

Photo by Júlio Gaspar Reis.

 

The cork has many applications, but in the fashion industry the most widely used is “cork fabric” or “cork leather” which is achieved by laminating the cork in very thin layers and attaching it to a special coating which may vary according to the use that it’s destinated for.

The durability of “cork fabric” is high enough, almost similar to leather and it’s a product which has many advantages:

– It is ecological, environmentally friendly and a completely natural material.

– It is very durable and it also has a soft touch that many compare to leather, but it’s really is something different and incomparable.

– It is hypoallergenic, it absorbs no dust and despite being organic it’s immune to microorganisms

– It is waterproof and easily washable.

For all these reasons I decided a while ago to use cork for crafting my bags and it’s giving me a great result. The cork gives each bag a special and unique touch, the texture is amazing and consistent. And everyone wants to touch them! It’s irresistible!

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