photo credit: Stephanie McLeod
The end of the year is just around the corner. I’ve started thinking about Christmas and gifting.
We create tons of single-use wrapping waste over the festive season. Only a fraction of wrapping products are recyclable – it’s estimated that about half of what we use in the UK ends up in a landfill.
My brand ma space design was established in 2020 with the vision of reducing single-use wrapping packages and completely changing the art of gift-giving by revitalising the ancient Japanese tradition of Furoshiki.
In Japan, gift-giving is part of the practice of living life thoughtfully. Furoshiki was originally called Tsutsumi, 包 meaning ‘wrap’. The ancient character for this word 包 is shaped like a pregnant woman. Wrapping objects in fabric became culturally associated with this metaphor of caring and compassion. Gift-giving is not just about handing something to someone. Making the experience of receiving the gift joyful is part of Japanese gift-giving culture.
In the modern age, Furoshiki was part of Japanese people’s everyday life. As well as wrapping gifts, people used Furoshiki for trading products and carrying belongings, from picnics to books.
The use of Furoshiki has faded since the 1970s with the introduction of plastic and paper bags, wrapping paper and luggage. Although the use of Furoshiki continued in formal ceremonies such as weddings and funerals.
When I give my non-Japanese friends something wrapped in Furoshiki, they always give something back wrapped in the same cloth. Even if it’s only seasonal fruits or vegetables, it’s the gesture, the intention that matters. This practice has created a small network of appreciation among my friends. This is what I want to create with the Furoshiki revolution in a contemporary context: a message of goodness you pass on with Furoshiki.
ABOUT TOMOKO’S BOOK
Tomoko Kakita’s book Furoshiki: And the Japanese Art of Gift Wrapping guides the reader through 30 exquisite-yet-easy styles, from basic wrapping to the most elegant techniques. The book also offers access to video content where the author demonstrates each wrap.
photo credit: Olivia Bennett