Read on to learn all about our new line of Cork Handbags and discover why I'm going Crazy for Cork!
If you’ve been following me on social media, you know that I am super excited to be offering a new line of cork handbags. Almost everyone who stops in my shop is drawn to their unique look as soon as they step through the door. The super soft and satiny texture of the cork fabric almost always draws surprise, and customers are even more amazed when they pick one up… These bags are so lightweight, they seem to defy gravity! Not only are these handbags beautifully crafted, they are sustainable and eco-friendly, too. The more that I learn about cork, its benefits, and just how wonderful a product it is, the more I want to pass that information on to my customers. So with that, this blog post was born!
The beauty of the cork bags that I carry speaks for itself. They were all designed by Natalie Therese, a talented handbag designer from Boxford, Massachusetts. Each bag is hand-stitched in her studio from premium quality cork, biodegradable vegan leather, (I’ll be writing all about that in another blog post) and are all lined with certified organic cotton. Every one of her bags combines style and function while creating an option for consumers that is environmentally friendly in a market that is usually anything but.
So with that… I will start from the beginning.
Where does cork come from?
The cork used in our handbags was harvested by hand in Portugal. The Cork Oak tree is the only tree in the world that can have its bark harvested without damaging the tree. That means that not only is cork a completely renewable resource, it is also harvested without the use of heavy machinery, further reducing any carbon footprint. The cork harvesters use the same method that their ancestors did 200 years ago: using only a ladder and an axe. (The only thing that has changed is that their ladders are now made of aluminum instead of wood.) You can learn more about the harvesting process here in a really interesting video by The Great Big Story.
When a tree has its bark harvested, the tree is then marked and is not harvested again for another nine years. Harvesting the bark from a Cork Oak tree stimulates that tree to then pull more carbon dioxide from the air than it would have if the bark had not been harvested. That makes cork-harvesting a carbon-negative process! (If something is “carbon-negative,” or has a “negative carbon footprint,” that means that it takes more CO2 from the air than it produces, helping in the fight against man-made climate change!)
Turning Bark into Fabric
The process used to create the handbags we carry avoids harsh chemicals at every turn. First, the cork is boiled to make it easier to work with. It is then shaved into thin sheets and adhered to a fabric backing. The sheets can be arranged in a number of different ways to create unique textures and patterns on the finished fabric.
The final step in the process involves coating the newly created fabric in a non-toxic sealant. Cork is naturally water and dust resistant, however this process makes it even more durable. The final result is fabric that is soft, supple, extremely lightweight, durable and absolutely stunning!
Once the cork fabric reaches Natalie’s Massachusetts studio, the magic really begins. The fabric is meticulously cut, and each bag is sewn by hand. Her designs are meant to blend form and function and here at I.D.E.A., we could not be happier with the results!
Stop in the I.D.E.A. Boutique at 108 W. Washington Street in Medina, Ohio to see these beautiful bags in person, or shop online at https://ideaonlinecatalog.com/cork-nt-bags/.
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