And today, we’re taking you behind the scenes, to the very start line - and tell you more about how the raw material for all Arture products, Cork, is made.
It all starts from Cork Oak trees, and the process is sustainable from start to end. Take a deep dive here, and know more.
There are 4 main stages in cork accessory production:
Stage 1: Harvesting - The most unique way to extract raw materials from trees
Cork trees usually grow in Mediterranean regions, in Spain, Portugal and France. When a cork tree is about 20-25 years of age, it’s bark can be stripped off. This is done by an experienced and skilled harvester only. That tree is then marked with the year, so that it will not be harvested again for ten years.
This allows the tree to grow back the bark so it can be harvested again without harming the tree. This makes this process extremely environment friendly, and quite unique as compared to other wood harvesting techniques.
Cork is the only tree that can be stripped off its bark and not die. This makes cork 100% sustainable.
Stage 2: Some rest time - Cork likes to sunbathe
After the harvest, the cork planks are stacked in piles either in the forest or in yards at a factory. There they remain exposed to sun, wind, and rain. During this seasoning period, the raw material matures and the cork stabilizes. This period lasts for a few months.
Stage 3: At the factory - Turning cork into fabrics
Once at the factory, cork is boiled in water to make the cells expand and make it easier to work with. Unlike with other materials, no harsh chemical are used for treating cork.
Next, cork is shaved down into paper-thin sheets. To make the cork durable, the sheets are then glued to a cotton/polyester or polyurethane backing.
Finally, a coating of sealant (non-toxic, non-environmentally-harming) is applied to keep cork from getting dirty in the process. This turns these sheets into a fabric, that designers and manufactures can work with.
It is now stain-resistant, water-resistant, scratch-proof and incredibly soft. At the same time it is extremely durable and strong.
Did you know, cork was used as an insulating material in the space shuttle, Columbia!
Stage 4: Designing and creating - This is where we come in
Once the fabric is created, it is used in the manufacturing process like any other fabric. It can be dyed into different colours too. At Arture we design our wallets in-house to maximise the benefits of the material and reduce wastage. We even use waste cutouts to create keychains, earphone holders and more.
We absolutely enjoy working with this wonderful material. Head over here to see the products we have created!