As one who really loves cork, I'm hoping that a solution will eventually be found, and we'll again be able to order cork products! They are lovely! I'm holding my Navy/Cork Imago just a little tighter these days, as both the cork and the Imago have gone the way of the dinosaur.
I come back to visit the site every few weeks or so to check... Is there any update on the cork fabric? It seems to me that if there'd been a manufacturing defect, we'd only have to wait until they created a new lot - if they'd made it successfully before, surely they could do it again. I'm interested in hearing the progress.
Ugh. My cork swift (original design, I may add) is having some splitting issues. If the issue continued, I wanted to replace it. Evidently, no.
From Wikipedia, the complexity of cork harvesting: There are about 2,200,000 hectares of cork forest world wide; 34% in Portugal and 27% in Spain. Annual production is about 200,000 tons; 49.6% from Portugal, 30.5% from Spain, 5.8% from Morocco, 4.9% from Algeria, 3.5% from Tunisia, 3.1% Italy, and 2.6% from France.
Once the trees are about 25 years old the cork is traditionally stripped from the trunks every nine years, with the first two harvests generally producing lower quality cork. Cork is extracted only from early May to late August, when the cork can be separated from the tree without causing permanent damage. When the tree reaches 25–30 years of age and about 24in (60 cm) in circumference, the cork can be removed for the first time. Subsequent extractions usually occur at intervals of 9 years, though it can take up to 13 for the cork to reach an acceptable size."
The trees live for about 200 years."
Extractors need to be highly skilled in order not to damage the tree when they harvest the cork, which means that they probably go through apprenticeship.
In many parts of Portugal, January 2005 was the driest January in more than 100 years. That was 9 years ago, right on time for a new harvest this year, but since trees do not grow much during a drought, their bark was probably not thick enough for harvest, this summer.
It is a natural fabric, so its very nature is variable, it is gorgeous and sustainable but the process of making it into a fabric as soft but thinner than Ultrasuede must be very complicated.
Target has cork lampshades for people who need a fix.
Ditto in respect of my pouches. I will get bricked for saying this, but at the rate my pouches are flaking... I'm glad the fabric got discontinued. Those were some serious quality issues there!
Not to bash, but I always thought this was a strange fabric choice. Then again, I have never seen it in person.
OMG, it is quite beautiful. I have a cork TB wallet and have had no problems with flaking. But as I read this thread, I wonder if that's because the wallet gets
handled so much and stays pliable from the transfer of skin oils. The down side so far is that the clear pane needs cleaning, no doubt because of hand oils, but I cannot wash the wallet, and so far, I have not screwed up the courage to try the rubbing alcohol method.
firstname.lastname@example.org and send us photos of your Swift so we can take a look.
And apologies to everyone else that it's taken us this long to provide an official update, but it's only been in the last few weeks that we felt we've exhausted all options and gathered enough information to make a call. And that is what you've probably guessed: no more cork, at least for the foreseeable future. Here's why:
The biggest thing is that we haven't been able to find a supplier of cork material that is responsive and able to provide us with a consistently quality material. The best of the bunch of suppliers we were talking with (sadly) went out of business and even their cork wasn't exactly what we were envisioning.
And, additionally: cork is a natural material -- it's made from tree bark. We all know that, and it's one of the things that we love about the fabric. But because it's a natural material, because, in effect, a tree is deciding what its particular pattern will be, or how many dark spots vs. light spots it has, there's no guarantees as to the consistency of its look, or even of its feel. And while it's certainly a very durable material, it's not going to ever be as durable as materials like our 1050d ballistic nylon. It's likely to, flaws or not, show its wear much sooner, and in ways that might be unexpected by those of us who are accustomed to bags made out of ballistic nylon and Cordura.
So, because of all of that -- and because of the minor flaws that we found in a previous batch of the fabric that -- we've decided it's best to retire Cork as a fabric.
And we're as sad about this as you are! I continue to use -- and cherish -- my Little Swift in Cork. I agree it'd be awesome to see some of our newer designs in Cork. And who knows, maybe someday we will. We avoid saying "never" around here, especially when we're talking about materials/design/that kind of stuff, as there's so much innovation going on in those realms that we're privy to that it's difficult for us to do anything but imagine there's going to be more possibilities in the future.
Well said Darcy! I love that your commitment is to the best products, and rather than offer something that would draw customers, but disappoint due to quality, your stand is that until the product can meet your quality standards, it wouldn't be right to offer it to your customers!
I too cherish my cork Swifts and accessories. I am grateful to have found TB when they were available, and to have been able to get them at that time.
Like Darcy, I adore my Little Swift in Cork. It's such a great combination of size and texture. Hopefully a group will tackle the cork quality issue and master the material!