25 abril 2006


This one is called

Alentejo (2004)

These cork bowls and dishes were inspired by the traditional drinking vessel used by cork harvesters to stay hydrated in the hot, arid fields where cork trees grow. The only liquid I would recommend for these is water, but they are also perfect for fruit, candy, keys, and in a pinch, as a bicycle helmet. Trust me- one day soon it will be very fashionable to ride your bike around town with a big piece of cork strapped to your head...

Some facts about cork:

Cork is made from the bark of the Cork Oak (Quercus Suber L.), a tree which thrives in arid plains surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, largely in Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Sardinia and Sicily.

Cork is a renewable, sustainable product. In other words, the more the material is harvested, the more is created! Cork trees have the amazing ability to regenerate bark for harvest after only 10 years (compare that with chopping down a tree and waiting 30-50 years for it to grow back). If cork is not harvested regularly, the trees will become stunted and will live a considerably shorter life. Regular harvest = healthier orchards!

Contrary to popular belief, cork is not rare or endangered. Quite the contrary! During the height of its popularity in both architectural and industrial usage (peaking around 30 years ago) there was significant over-harvesting of the material, putting orchards at risk. However, as architectural popularity has waned and synthetic (and toxic) material have replaced cork in industry, a surplus of material has developed, as the trees must be harvested to maintain good health.

Cork is:

Recyclable. The material I use originates as the waste material from the production of bottle stoppers. My supplier buys back my leftover material to grind back up and use again.

Waterproof and extremely buoyant. It has been used traditionally in fishing and hunting to make floats for net, decoys, etc.

Naturally resistant to all forms of rot and mold growth. Your piece of cork will remained unchanged for centuries to come with normal use. I wish I could say the same thing about myself...

Naturally resistant to bacterial and microbial growth. No nasties hiding in your cork furniture, I assure you!

Highly absorbent of sound and vibration. This has been its primary industrial application. I put cork pads under my air compressor at the studio to keep it from walking across the floor. Voila-problem solved!

A fantastic insulator.

Naturally heat and fire resistant. Cork will turn black under extreme heat, but will not ignite. It is even used by NASA to line the interior of the Space Shuttle's fuel tanks!

Harvested using tools and methods largely unchanged for hundreds of years.

Daniel Michalik

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