Known as a vegan alternative to leather - Cork has a unique look and an attractive soft handle that people love. Since finding out how to make leather from wood, cork fabric leather has been used for handbags, purses, wallets, clothes, accessories, shoes, book binding, wall coverings and upholstery. It can be used in various crafts eg: quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and mixed media. Cork can be sewn, glued or laser-cut. It is biodegradable, anti-static and hypoallergenic and can be cleaned by wiping with a damp cloth and mild detergent and left to air dry.
The Benefits of Cork Fabric:
- Eco-friendly / Biodegradable
- Vegan Approved by PETA
- renewable and sustainable
- soft, light and warm to touch
- tear resistant
- naturally water resistant
- harvest of cork reduces the greenhouse effect
- long lasting
- Easy to cut, clean, sew and work with
Cork trees (Quercus suber) are a type of Oak tree predominantly grown in Spain, France and Portugal. They grow up to 20m high with trunks up to 2-3 mtrs wide. The normal lifespan of cork production for a tree is between 25 -200 years. During the harvesting process cork bark is stripped from the trees by human hands (known as extractors) using a series or horizontal and vertical axe cuts. Cork trees are the only trees that can be stripped without killing the tree. Care is taken to not damage the underlying Phellogen layer of bark, so the trees remain unharmed by the harvesting process. Cork forests are normally maintained for 100s of years, therefore reducing the greenhouse effect.
Once harvested, the trees take several years to recreate the cork, so the process is repeated every 9-13 years. Once the cork has been extracted, it is air dried using traditional methods for approx. 6 months and later transported to the processor where it is cooked and steamed to improve elasticity. Heat and pressure are applied to make cork blocks which are recut into thin slices. The cork can have foil added, be printed or dyed with unique designs