Exploring with Cork

CorkProcessImages

I began exploring the possibilities of  binding cork granules using heat and compression as a way to extract the natural resins in the cork to use as an adhesive. In industry large autoclaves are used that produce super-heated steam in excess of 600F degrees to make insulation panels for construction which allow for the  natural suberin that is in the cork to bind together. I wanted to explore if this could be replicated in a studio environment and at a much smaller scale. Though relentless experimentation I was able to discover a process that allowed me to successfully bind the cork granules together and I was able to mold a small cork seat around a stainless steel frame.

A small stool made some cork and stainless steel.

A small stool made some cork and stainless steel.

This process has a lot of potential both from a sustainability aspect and an object aspect. Cork is such a great material to work with as it is completely renewable, hypoallergenic and  weather resistant. I put a sample outside throughout a New England winter and it had no effect on it's stability. Cork is the outer bark of a tree that can be harvested every 7-9 years without any damage to the tree. The cork I used in this project was the waist product from wine cork manufacturing and a mixture or recycled wine corks.

 

Cannot wait to keep exploring with cork!