The term Furoshiki is becoming widely recognized all over the world as a beautiful eco alternative for shopping bags, wrapping materials, and more.
Furoshiki are traditional japanese cloths made of cotton, rayon, nylon or silk.
They normally have traditional japanese patterns like japanese family crests or traditional kimono patterns, and offer a wide range of colours.
There are many places throughout Kyoto that still colour and decorate furoshiki using ancient traditional methods of fabric dyeing and even adding details by hand.
This versatile cloth was used hundreds of years ago in Japan for a variety of things, just as it can be used for us today. Originally, it was a large sheet to wrap and store clothing when visiting a bath house, but later became more popular with other uses such as, wrapping and decorating gifts and as a way to facilitate carrying awkward or delicate items.
Today, Japanese furoshiki are easily tied (using a series of knots) to create shopping bags, handbags, backpacks, gift wrap for any item, and even skirts, summer tops, shawls and more. There are many who collect furoshiki for their homes as hanging decorations, throws, table cloths or decoration for glass vases.
Furoshiki may seem like simple pieces of fabric, but with the wide range of sizes, colours, styles and fabrics, it can be used daily. With sizes that can range from 40cm squared to 3m squared or more, it’s simple to wrap up or carry any item imaginable.
The method to securing and creating the different furoshiki bags or wraps is by using a simple series of knots. For example, begin by taking two opposing corners and tying them with a simple knot over an item (as a gift or just to carryand item), then taking the other two corners and tying them in the same manner. This is the simplest way to wrap gifts and creates a solid handle of knots to grab on to.
There are other knot tying steps for furoshiki to customize shopping bags with long or short handles, or very simply, add bamboo rings for a more decorative handle (secured with furoshiki knots).
Some of the clothing items that can be tied are bolero, head sashes, summer tops, or wrap a variety of gifts like flowers, bottles (champagne, wine…), gift boxes, even picnic baskets and more.