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But I can figure it out. I figured how to crack stones, and dance leaves, and make waves in my bath. I unpicked a Doranen lock and I collapsed waterspouts in Westwailing Harbour. I did all of that. I can bloody do this.
But before he could defeat the pain, he had to accept it. That was the hardest part - letting the pain take him and shake him like a rat-dog wit a rat. Surrendering, he sank himself beneath the surface of raw magic...
Welcome to yet another random chronicle of my life
This morning I went down to the coast to see a demonstration of a craft which is not so common here anymore, but it is still a business in Southern Spain, Portugal and apparently in Morocco as well.
Despite its versatility, apparently it is not the material of choice of the DA community. But we do have some wonderful creations!
! Please, check each Deviant own page for more art
[Btw, anybody has any thought about the origin of the name "Cork" iin Ireland? ]
Cork oaks grow basically in the West of the Mediterranean Basin and they have been used by humanking ever since Neolithic ages. But I am not going to go in the whole history of the trade. Let me just say that before the Industrial Revolution some skilled locals made a good living out of the "tapers" trade. Basically it consisted in making cork tops from raw material (originally rectangle shaped, and polished until cylindrical). This age has remained Romanticali idealized in the local imaginary.
The extraction of raw cork is a sustainable industry, as it does not require the cutting down of the tree. Cork is the bark of the oak. During the rainy season (mid May to mid August - approximately, depending on the year) there is enough space between the bark and the living core of the tree. This allows the groups of workers to cut the cork without damaging the living tree.
Mind that amongst the forest jobs, it was regarded as one for skilled woodcutters.
First time bark is removed it has a very low comercial value - if any. So you need to wait some 10-14 years (depending on climate conditions) for the next one to grow before any profit can be actually made out of the tree. If an unskilled woodcutter killed the tree, he compromised the living of the whole group of workers.
Main steps of the cork cutting. The ones down show the tree after being peeled - the bank is removed only up to a certain height, never the whole of it.
Notice that the tree that has recently been peeled has a lighter, orange-like colour (left), while after a while the core gets darker (right).
Here in the photos you can see a close-up of every step to peel the bank off. However, if I can ask you for 4 more minutes of your time, this video will give you a better idea of the process.
[Even if you do not understand the language, it is an interesting process.
Please skip to minute 1:40, when he starts peeling the tree]
Once the bark has been removed, a protective liquid is applied to the tree. Nowadays woodcutters are asked to use a bluish one. I've never found myself wandering in such a Smurfesque forest, but maybe I should go out more...
Uses of cork go further than storaging wine and sparkling wine much better than synthetic materials - as it allows the beverage to "breathe" and continue its chemical processes once inside the bottle.
Beyond corkboards - although they always come in handy -, it is a perfect thermal and acoustic isolation material.
Someone mentioned that a French antiquarian explained how smoothered cork was used to polish wooden furniture before wax and barnish.
I've seen cork curtains (made out of recycled tops) in some nearby restaurants, specially in these which emphasise wine-pairing, and also Christmas wreaths.