The Art of Furoshiki

What is it?

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Furoshiki is the Japanese traditional method of using a single square piece of cloth to wrap, carry or store items. Furoshiki embraces the philosophy of eco-friendly living by reducing the use of wrapping papers and plastic bags. Furoshiki literally translates to “bath spread” and is usually made of silk, cotton, nylon or rayon. 

How did it come about?
The idea of Furoshiki started during the Nara period (710-794). Originally called “Tsutsumi” which literally translates to “package”, Tsutsumi was primarily used to wrap treasures from Japanese temples.

Use of Furoshiki during Muromachi period 

600 years ago during the Muromachi period (1336-1573), General Yoshimitsu Ashikaga built a huge bathhouse in Kyoto and invited feudal lords from various regions in Japan. To prevent confusion of their clothing, the feudal lords wrapped them in silk Tsutsumis decorated with their family crests.

During the Edo period (1603-1868), bathhouses became popular among the public and the word “Furoshiki” was then adopted. As Japan developed, the Furoshiki became a convenient way for the Japanese to transport goods and gifts.

Why Furoshiki?
Today, Furoshiki is a preferred alternative to modern-day gift wrapping. Why?

1. It is environmentally friendly. Rather than using traditional wrapping paper or plastic gift bags that end up in landfills, Furoshiki wraps can be re-used as a tablecloth, the next gift wrapper and more!

2. It is convenient and economical. With Furoshiki, say goodbye to scotch tape. Furoshiki does not involve any cutting during the wrapping process which sure saves some time! It is not only user-friendly but also cost-effective. Keep your Furoshiki wraps and re-use them for the next festive!

Image Source: Authentic Furoshiki Wraps sold on Etsy by Japan Kitchen

3. Japanese Furoshiki wraps can be gorgeous, and also meaningful! They are representative of the care and meticulousness you’ve put into the gift for your giftee, and recipients will never fail to appreciate the extra touch displayed, as well as the extra “gift” if you’ve decided to pass on the material.

How to do it?
First, get a Furoshiki! You can either buy or make one yourself.
To make it yourself, get a cloth that is at least three times the size of the object that you will be wrapping. The cloth can be a tablecloth, a scarf, a towel or a bandana, any cloth you like!

Next, depending on what you are wrapping, head online for videos and guides!

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Where to do it?
Instead of making and learning about Furoshiki yourself, we “present” this option: why not share this experience with your loved ones! In this workshop, you will not only get to learn about the different types and folding methods of Furoshiki, but also, you get tips on how to create your own customized prints through screen printing! Located in Telok Ayer, this workshop is perfect for before Christmas arrives! Pick up Furoshiki skills and personalize your own Furoshiki wraps!

Let’s live a little greener in this gift-giving time of the year! 

Price: SGD$40
Location: Near Telok Ayer MRT
Duration: 1 Hour

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Culturally seeks to bridge culture and art all over the world.