Gift Wrapping with Textiles

In Japanese culture, it is customary to put as much care into the wrapping of a gift as into choosing the gift itself. The way a gift is wrapped and the material in which it is presented are considered expressions of the giver’s feeling toward the recipient. Now, using techniques that have been part of Japanese tradition for generations, Chizuko Morita offers readers innovative and unique ideas for using the Japanese art of wrapping with cloth in very contemporary ways. In a matter of minutes, a swatch of cloth known as a furoshiki can be fashioned into an elegant wrapping for a CD, a book, a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, even a soccer ball. And unlike paper gift wrap, if you get it wrong the first time, you can just undo the knots and start again. Not only are the wraps fool-proof, they rely on only three basic knots. (
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Kodansha International
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A Unique Art History

Field of Interest/Specialty: Art & Social Studies
Posted On: 07/07/2014

Angie Stokes
Our Lady of Grace School
Social Studies 6-8, Art 1-8
This brief (less than 100 pages) but detailed guide provides readers with an assortment of beautiful photographs and creative ideas for making the simple process of gift wrapping exciting. Starting with a pictorial table of contents, this guidebook not only shows the reader with simple directions and clear pictures of how to dress virtually any item “in a costume,“ it also provides a story about the fascinating history of the colorful squares of furashiki or fukusa cloth used for wrapping and examples of how this art form has evolved through the centuries. While political, economic, and cultural factors have molded the form and function of the furashiki over time, the use of various fabrics and designs has also changed as technology and trade have transformed this tradition. As an art form, wrapping developed through the years as a sign of proper etiquette. In today’s era of excess, it remains as a beautiful process that serves as a fresh and adaptable technique for recycling materials.
This book is a way for students to see how a “long history rooted in the everyday culture of Japan” can serve as a means to actively engage themselves in an exploration of Japanese tradition, connecting people with the past and with one another. With over forty unique folds made from three simple knots, almost any students can replicate these steps to create a beautiful work of art. While most wrapping techniques are between four and six steps, no technique takes more than ten steps--making it much easier than most origami birds!
From matching traditional designs and their stories to creating family crests and symbols of luck for the furashiki, art classes can use this book as a reference guide for many different classroom activities. Teachers could work the content of this book into virtually any textile lesson; from loom weaving to fabric dying, there are many examples of how and why the furashiki have been made in the manner that they are. Most obviously, the challenge of selecting and executing the proper fold for an object in and of itself would be a problem-solving adventure for any student from middle school and beyond, one that many students would enjoy even more as they come to understand the purpose and art of Japanese gift wrapping.