Furoshiki: the literal translation “bath (furo) spread (shiki)” was first used in the Nara period (710-794) as a means to protect valuable goods in transit. It has become increasing popular around the world as an environmentally friendly and original way to wrap presents. In Japan the fabrics used are exquisite; designs are chosen to reflect the season that the gift is given. Two contrasting pieces are sewn together and the edges are overstitched to create a smooth and perfectly finished wrap.
Should you have the time and desire to create furoshiki that truly embodies this art form you might find square silk scarves in charity shops that could work well, without breaking the bank (or creating a new carbon footprint).
We rummaged for scraps of fabric and found these rather lovely green pieces that we cut and ironed (a miracle) to give us the best chance of a beautiful end result. We placed our gifts sideways onto the square so that the corners could be pulled over diagonally and knotted in the centre.
It was a joy to wrap up a gift that involved no tape or shiny paper - and a trip into the garden to find suitable greenery and berries (in short supply at our house, the squirrels have even eaten all the rosehips).
Have you tried this method of wrapping yet?