The last time we saw Cyllene King of Bend in August 2022, she was building cork birdhouses as fast as she could and she had a lot of work left to do. Five months later, we decided it was time to pay the mad-crafter another visit and see if she has found a way to use up more than 20,000 corks.
First, a quick recap on how she ended up hip-deep in corks. Last year, she put out a notice in the Central Electric Co-Op monthly magazine Ruralite asking for people to send her corks so she could make cork birdhouses.
What she didn’t realize is that the magazine didn’t just go out to Central Oregon customers, but to hundreds of thousands of utility customers all over the West. And she ended up receiving thousands of corks in the mail.
“I got more help than I needed” she said with a somewhat giddy laugh.
Five months later, she has built 37 birdhouses. At current rate of cork consumption, Cyllene would have to make 200 more to get down to zero-cork status.
So she is branching out, having gotten just a bit tired of building the same cork birdhouse over and over.
During the holidays she build cork wreaths and cork Christmas trees. She’s trying her hand at trivets, key-chains, mobiles, welcome mats, a cork wall-guard to surround her husband’s dartboard and even an ill-fated cork fruit bowl.
“I’ve done some tile work, so i thought maybe grouting would work. It really doesn’t!” said Cyllene.
She has written out basic cork birdhouse instructions in case she teaches crafting classes someday.
Sometime, she admits, the whole thing gets her down.
“I don’t even know why I started doing this!” she says. With a chuckle. Always with a chuckle. And she says she’s glad to be helping people who need help getting rid of their corks.
“I think I did them a favor getting them out of their garage,” said Cyllene.
And there just might be a light at the end of the cork-lined tunnel. She reads us this from the December issue of Ruralite magazine — a request from somebody in Eatonville, Washington.
“I’m looking for wine corks so I can make bulletin boards for seniors in nursing homes so they can pin their pictures with ease. I bet you she’ll get the same experience as me. People want to help! And they want to get rid of their corks,” said Cyllene.
And would she maybe package up her 20,000 corks and ship them off to Eatonville?
“Maybe! But i’m not sure i’m done playing yet!” said Cyllene.
She does a have a nice new glue gun after all and plenty of you-know-whats to work with. Maybe we’ll check back in June and see how she’s doing.