Every parent knows that nothing goes better with a little “whine” like a glass (or two) of pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon. Erin Denton of Desert Coastal Studios has found an attractive way to upcycle all of these remaining wine corks. “I really love brainstorming new product ideas and seeing those ideas come to life. It is exciting to me to come up with an idea that is completely unique and to turn that intangible idea into something that people end up displaying in their homes or giving as a gift,” she exclaimed. “Oh, and, I love drinking the wine, too!”
Launched in 2016, Desert Coastal Studios produces home goods constructed exclusively from cork, such as table centerpieces, trivets, coasters, cake toppers and wall décor. “My business has evolved so much in the last three years,” Denton said. “I started off just selling jewelry made from wine corks via a Facebook page and word of mouth. Eventually I started up an Etsy page and expanded my product line. And, the rest is history.” The artist selected the name Desert Coastal Studios to reflect her early upbringing and pay homage to the two places Denton calls home. “I wanted something that represented who I am. I grew up in San Diego, but have lived in Phoenix most of my adult life,” she explained. “Both of these places have a part in shaping who I am as a person and as an artist and maker.”
Brides and grooms comprise a large portion of Desert Coastal Studios customers. “My most requested design and my best seller is, hands down, my heart shaped cork guestbook for weddings,” said Denton. “It is made from blank, unprinted wine corks cut into the shape of a heart. Guests sign the wine corks in lieu of, or in addition to, a traditional guestbook.” The concept for the cork guestbook was actually inspired by Denton’s mother. “My mom was an avid and gifted quilter. At my wedding, she set out strips of fabric for our guests to sign and after the wedding, she sewed these strips into a beautiful keepsake quilt that we still have hanging in our home,” she recalled. “Fast forward 20 years and I had been hearing about the growing popularity of ‘alternative guestbooks’ when I suddenly realized that was what my keepsake quilt was. I had never thought of it that way, but my mom was a trailblazer.” For the newlyweds and new homebuyers, the small shop also creates lightweight wall hangings carved in the shape of different states or even the entire country. “My favorite cork design would be my world map made from wine corks. This is the largest and probably most detailed piece I have ever made,” she shared. “I also love the fact that this piece includes color because I painted all of the corks that make up the oceans a translucent blue.”
Denton takes pride in the details and craftsmanship in each piece. “I am also committed to environmentally-friendly practices. I use 100% recyclable or repurposed packaging. One reason I chose corks as a medium – other than my love of wine – is due to the fact that cork is a very sustainable material.” Not a pour decision at all.
Desert Coastal Studios will be debuting several new cork designs for wine enthusiasts. “These will include a new ornament design, as well as some new wall art. I don’t want to give too much away, but, think farmhouse style.” Check out the full selection on the Desert Coastal Studios website and on Facebook here. Cheers!