If someone says cork, you probably think wine bottles right? Well yes – but it’s becoming much more than that. There’s actually a significant international push around the use of cork an alternative material for use in building insulation, furniture and household items. Even NASA is testing cork as a coating on space shuttles.
Cork is 100% natural, biodegradable, in every way friendly to mother earth. It’s light, elastic, waterproof and fire resistant. It also has a unique aesthetic in terms of tactile feel, texture and appearance.
Turns out that cork comes from the cork oak, a tree that’s native along the Mediterranean region primarily in Portugal, Spain, Morocco and others. In fact, Portugal alone supplies around 50% of the world’s production of cork. Extraction occurs once every 9 years to allow for surface regeneration and is totally safe and sustainable: the cork oak tree is neither cut nor damaged, and can live for centuries.
What we didn’t know is this: like wood, in the right hands it can be transformed into rather intriguing and innovative artisanal pieces.
Meet Miguel Pacheco, owner of Casita de Corcho.
Miguel is one of the first Spanish artisans that latched on to cork’s possibilities as an artistic medium. Years ago he set up shop in San Vicente de Alcantara, Spain where’s he’s become well known. Anyone in that town can point you toward his store, which showcases a wide variety of cork creations.
Early on Miguel focused on more utilitarian products, such as business cards and wedding invitations printed on cork-based paper. He then expanded into household items including gift boxes, trays, and pitchers. A few years ago he started producing lady’s accessories such as wallets and handbags.
On occasion, he even makes one-of-a-kind artistic pieces for collectors.
The artisanal cork “movement” in Spain is just beginning. We expect to see many more intriguing works by Miguel Pacheco in the coming months – stay tuned!