Cork is harvested from the Cork Oak tree, which grows primarily in the West Mediterranean Basin. Portugal (where our fabric originates) is the largest cork producer, containing one third of the world's Cork Oak population. Cork harvesting in Portugal is regulated by law to protect the valuable resource and regulate the quality of the harvest. When the Cork Oak has reached 20 years of age, the bark is stripped from the tree by the hands of a highly skilled harvester. That tree is then marked so that it will not be harvested for another 8-10 years.
The Cork Oak is the only tree that benefits from the removal of its bark and, since it regenerates, it is truly an eco-conscious and sustainable natural resource. In fact, the same tree can be harvested every 8-10 years for over 200 years! Once harvested, the tree absorbs about 5 times the CO2, making harvesting an important process in reducing greenhouse gases.
Once the cork is harvested from the Cork Oak it is boiled, dried, shaved into thin sheets and sealed with a non-toxic sealant. Once the cork fabric is complete, it is stain-resistant, water-resistant, scratch-proof, hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, lightweight, incredibly soft, and is also resistant to abrasion, fire, and water.
For more information about working with cork, please visit our FAQ page.
Interested in trying cork fabric for your next project? Visit our online shop.