I fell in love with cork by chance a few Christmas seasons ago. I spent hours on Pinterest looking for Christmas gift ideas to use up the many, many, many corks I had collected over the years as an amateur wine enthusiast. I finally settled on making cork earrings, and I set to work converting our guest bedroom into a startup jewelry workshop. A few long nights, a few glasses of wine, and many discarded corks later, my very first batch of cork earrings was complete! I carefully wrapped each of my hand made creations, both excited and nervous to see how my family would react.
They loved my work! They loved my work so much that I got requests to make more - more for them, more for their family, and more for their friends. I started learning about cork and different jewelry techniques, and I discovered that cork is so much more than a simple bottle stopper or trivet - there's a whole world full of products made from this natural, sustainable material. My creations soon expanded past earrings and into bracelets and necklaces, and then into purses, pouches, and bags. As for what's next, who knows?
Just like that first batch of Christmas earrings, each and every item I sell has been hand made and designed by myself. I will make multiples of an item, but no two are ever truly identical - each item has it's own unique feel based on the hand made nature of my work. I see each and every one of my creations as a piece of functional art, and I believe everyone should own a small piece of the natural beauty of cork.
All of my inspiration comes from the beauty I find and experience in my own life and from my loving family and friends - thank you so much to all of you for your continued support and ideas. And special thanks to my husband/business partner, who can be found running around Southeastern Wisconsin art shows with me. Quirky Cork would not be what it is today without all of you.
About The Cork
Cork comes from the cork oak tree, which is native to the Mediterranean Basin. Cork oaks are one of the oldest species of oak trees, and the average cork oak lives to be around 200 years old. What makes the cork oak unique is its ability to shed its bark and regenerate it, which allows cork to be farmed as a sustainable resource. Cork oaks can have their bark harvested when the tree reaches 25 years old, with additional harvests every 7-12 years. Harvesting of the cork is done by hand to protect the tree from injury.
Cork oaks are very strong and are resistant to disease and fire due to their thick unique bark. Groves and forests of these trees provide homes to many
endangered species in the Mediterranean area, and in many Mediterranean countries it is illegal to chop down a cork oak without permission.
The wine and beverage industry has been shifting away from corks and towards twist off tops and other non-organic ways of sealing bottles. In response to this, cork co-ops and farms are developing new ways to use cork to continue their family traditions of harvesting this renewable resource, and today only 15% of the cork harvested each year is used in wine and bottle corks. Cork’s ability to be impermeable to gasses and liquids make it a very interesting material to use for a variety of purposes, from cork fabrics to cork flooring and even cork shoes!
I use cork in all of my art because of its durability, its sustainability, and its unique look. Each piece of art I create comes with the unique characteristics and feel of the tree the cork was harvested from, which adds to the natural beauty of my work.