A love affair with cork leather

Sunday, July 17, 2016, 20:27

two cork leather and silk pictures of Ikebana flower arrangements

If you've been to Portugal, Madeira or the islands of the Azores you've probably seen cork leather, the thin laminate of cork bonded to a strong, flexible material. I fell in love with it because it's beautiful to look at, soft to the touch, eco-friendly and sustainable and a joy to work with. An added pleasure is the fact that this new material is helping to safeguard the cork groves of the Alentejo and their distinctive fauna and flora. What more could you desire of a material? Well, of course, there is one thing: if only it weren't so expensive! Then again it cannot be cheap to manufacture and you have to factor in all the research and development costs.

I use cork leather and other materials in a craft business I call Quercki Design. Why? Well in Latin the cork oak is call the quercus suber so I took quercus, made it plural and added a 'k' to keep the 'c' hard. And, of course, I think my products are unusual, different – in short 'quirky'!

Above you can see two panels which I have designed and made using cork leather backed in silk, which catches the light and gleams in contrast to the matt surface of the cork. To look at other items which I make, from notebooks to jewellery, click here.
Three cork leather statement necklaces with semi-precious stones

How about this for something different? If you like statement jewellery, something that will make you stand out from the crowd, how about a cork leather and semi-precious stone necklace? Above left the necklace has a 4 cm green aventurine cabochon stone with smaller cabochons and an oval green bead. In the centre, the bib necklace has a ceramic donut surmounted by a gold – coloured metal flower and a blue sodalite bead. Around the centre piece you can also see several small honey quartz beads. To the right, the v-shaped necklace is made of a medium-sized cabochon carnelian with a flat quartz bead above it and several carnelian beads to each side.

Seven notebooks in cork leather and coloured leather

Do you still like a notebook to write in? Although we're getting out of the habit of using pen and paper, there's something deeply satisfying about a beautiful notebook which you can record your ideas in and leaf through at will. Somehow a search engine isn't the same, is it?

This is a small selection of the designs available on notebooks of different sizes, A5, A6, and A7 – though please note that the more complicated designs will not cut satisfactorily on books as small as A7. I've tried to cover as many bases as I can. There are books for sportspeople: skiers, fishermen and women, cricketers, rugby players, golfers and so on. There are books for people with hobbies: music, baking, gardening even cogs for people with a mechanical interest! Then again there are flowers both realistic such as the Yorkshire and Lancashire roses and the thistle of Scotland and more stylised such as art nouveau designs. There are even simple geometric patterns if that is what you prefer.

Three cork leather and silk wedding books

Are you of an age when you, your friends or your children are getting married? What about an unusual gift for the wedding: these A4 wedding books could be guest books where friends and family record their good wishes and contact details or scrapbooks of photos, pressed flowers, invitations and menus.

Five small cork leather panels backed with silk

Does your house need freshening up? A bit of t.l.c.? Or are you looking for the perfect, different present for someone who seems to have everything? Then what about one or a set of cork leather pictures backed in shining silk and framed in rustic driftwood? If you or your family and friends travel, many of these designs come as passport covers. There are also specific passport design such as a yacht or a beach umbrella. You can match these with luggage labels and key rings if you like – even a torch or a mirror in a little pouch. If you would like to protect your iPad, iPad mini or kindle, I can make a cover too.

Three cork leather clocks

If you're now thinking, "That must be it! Surely she has run out of things to make," you would be wrong because my latest venture is clocks. I have plans for a kitchen clock with a cup of tea, fruit, a cake etc. on it. Yes, it does sound odd – we'll see if it works. If not, well... I can always think of something else.

Part of a stand at a craft fair showing cork leather products

When we're in the UK we go to fairs around Yorkshire and the north – Pickering, Cleveland, Duncombe Park near Helmsley, Hawes, Thirsk... if you're in the area you might find us there. You can see part of a stand above with some of the items you've seen and others you haven't on display.

If you'd like to buy any of these for yourself or as presents please go to my shop on Etsy, where some are for sale:


If you would like to know the dates of fairs we are attending or have a specific request, please contact me through the Me n You in Portugal blog.

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