Melanie Abrantes Introduces Us to the Magic of Cork
Your eyes aren’t fooling you: After the bark is harvested, the trunks really are that rusty hue.
Quarter-Portuguese product designer Melanie Abrantes is a huge—ginormous!—fan of cork. “It’s antibacterial, water-proof, washable—it’s practically indestructible!” she raves. It’s something that has been part of Melanie’s annual summer vacays with her grandfather all her life, but now she’s taken things to the next level, producing killer vases and planters from the stuff. How, exactly, do you turn bark into a bowl? Girl’s got the scoop.
“The cork I buy comes in these huge blocks. Basically what happens is that they cut out all the wine corks from the original cork bark that they harvest. They then grind up all the holey cork board, mold it into giant blocks, and bake them. That’s what I purchase!”
“After I buy my cork in these huge blocks, I use a lathing tool to shape it. It’s a little harder to sand to get the correct finish, so I do everything on a lathe. I went to a wood shop to purchase a lathe, and they kept talking to my dad because no one thought that a woman would be buying one.”
“I then finish each item with beeswax, which gives it a more finished look and protects the cork. Beeswax is food-based, so it’s okay to use for food containers and for kids to put in their mouths.”