Cork Oak Project
Boredom and staleness from the clean detachment of computer corrections—software, programs, pens without ink, and incessant digital manipulations.
Return to the immediacy of materials—tactile, physical—paint for paint.
Abjection for traditional tools mounting, so skip the in-between—finger paint for direct contact (restoring communion).
Finger painting evolves to unconventional painting tool: Cork/Cork Oak
Step away from the comforts of conventional tools—the precise brushes, pens, markers, and stylus—use the cork and nothing but the cork.
Stipulation: Apply paint only with a cork.
Cork (N.) the elastic tough outer tissue of the cork oak that is used especially for stoppers and insulation.
Charged with keywords—elastic, tough, tissue, insulation. This leads to further inspection into the means of insulation, forms of barriers, significance of division, and the clashing aesthetics of compartmentalization (i.e. TV Dinner tray composition, lines in coloring book, etc.).
Properties of Cork Oak Examined
Natural, Biodegradable, Renewable, Recyclable
Lightness: Floats on Water
89% Gaseous Matter
Returns to original shape after pressure
Impermeability: Seal for Liquid/Gasses
Suberin: Complex mix of fatty acids and heavy organic alcohol
Does not rot
Low conductivity of heat, sound, vibration
Neither spreads flames nor releases toxic gas during combustion (1000* F)
Durability: Honeycomb structureè High friction coefficient
Hypoallergenic: Does not absorb dust
Harvesting Method Examined
First Harvest (known as Male Harvest): 25-30 years
Second Harvest (more gentile): 9-12 years (Reproductive Cork)
Third Harvest: 9-12 years (40 total)è Amadia
Suitable for wine corks (Viable for 150 years more)
2/3 of tree is stripped of bark during peak growing (summer)
Stuns but does not damage… Regenerates
Difficult to identify age: Complex Ring-Definition (semi-ring porosity)
Accurate first 10-15 years… Harvesting disturbs growth rings
Scars remain if harvested too deep
Balance: Resilient yet Fragile
Wood and cork grow at different rates
Cork oak is only that doesn’t contain lengthwise fibers, allowing harvest without killing the tree
Environmental Factor: Under-harvesting damage to area… keep cork oak in Iberian Portugal to prevent “Dust Bowl”… Eucalyptus and other trees replanted absorb much more water.
Also effective carbon sink (10M tons of CO2 per year)
Spirituality Quotient: Leaves used in Olympian crowns (honor, sanctity)… Cork Oak trees only removed by priests/officials (protected by authorities even today)
Implement Research/Complete the Conceptualization
Cork is both versatile and resilient; a superhero of sorts—impermeable, buoyant, elastic, and fire resistant. [Endures the elements of grand opposition; the connecting dot between extremes… the full circle].
Cork oak trees must be aged 25-30 years before the first harvest [my approximate age at the time of conception].
“Skinning” a cork oak only makes the future corks better. First harvest is known as the “male cork” and subsequent harvests “gentle cork” [continual process of becoming a gentleman; process of maturation; coming of age story].
The art of removing bark is still a hands-on process, as it must not be cut too deep, which in turn damages the core and kills the tree [hands-on care is needed to peel away layers of useful depth, finding fragility of its core… masks of vulnerability].