Ilya Fisher

Handmade silk skirts & tops, textile art and cards

Furoshiki -Wrapping the Future

Submitted on Mon, 23rd May 2011 at 14:31

We all love beautiful things in our lives and we want to keep the world beautiful too. Plastic bags and wrapping paper –two environmentally costly burdens our planet is struggling with: The furoshiki is a beautiful solution to some of this waste and pollution.

A furoshiki is a square piece of cloth that can be folded and knotted in a huge wonderful variety of ways to make a huge wonderful variety of bags and wrapping. It can replace the plastic bag on shopping trips, library visits, picnics (when you can then open it out and sit on it!) can be used to wrap around gifts instead of throw away wrapping paper (your gift wrapped in a gift), worn as a belt or headscarf, I have even seen two turned into an amazing rucksack.

The shopping laid out, though I generally make the bag up first and then put the contents in.

Furoshiki bag of shoppingTesage Bukuro (Hand Carry Wrap with the shopping in)

The word furoshiki dates back to the mid-edo period in Japan (1603-1868), originally being used to carry the owner’s clothes to the bath (Furo) house and then spread (shiki) out on the floor as they changed their clothes, though squares of this kind have been used there for longer. Apparently it has been very popular in Japan until the use of plastic bags.

2 bottlesBin Tsutsumi 2 (Amazing 2 Bottle Carry Wrap)

The size of the square can be anything you like though common sizes are 60cm and 90cm. and the beauty of these re-usable cloths is that they fold up really small to put in your pocket or handbag (or briefcase). The one I made here is 100 square cm, so I can gets lots of shopping in it.

Furoshiki can be made from any fabric. Silk is good, it’s strong, ties good knots that are easy to undo and it looks lovely and drapes well. This weekend I made my own silk 100cm Furoshiki decorated with kumo shibori (the wonderful spider web design).

I am thinking of adding a furoshiki line to my website –so useful, so eco, what do you think?

Furoshiki wrapped bookOtsukai Tsutsumi (Basic Carry Wrap around a book)

Furoshiki dryingMy kumo shibori furoshiki drying in the garden after dyeing

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