It gained popularity during the Edo period of Japan, several hundred years that include the self-isolation of Japan. The word ‘furoshiki’ is derived from two words: ‘bath’ and ‘spread’. The square cloths were used to carry one’s clothing at the sentō, or public bath. Eventually they were used to wrap all sort of goods for transport or as gifts.
Today, furoshiki has the potential to make a huge impact in the effort to slow the use of non-biodegradable and flimsy plastic bags. While the fabric shopping bag is a good alternative to the plastic bag, furoshiki can be folded and used in many ways. Not only can it carry your things, it can be a reusable gift-wrap or a lunch container that turns into a table cloth!
Etsy’s myfuroshiki, whose work is featured in this article, is the project of two sisters, Olivia & Michiko Yasue. Michiko returned from a trip to Japan and introduced her sister to the concept of furoshiki. Myfuroshiki was launched in January of 2009.
One sister based in the UK and the other in Australia, they screen print and collaborate on their collection of furoshiki that incorporates elements of traditional designs and fun modern patterns. Their fabrics are %100 cotton, which they cut, edge and print with water based inks. Instead of wrapping with paper and tape, all of which gets thrown away immediately after the gift is opened, wrap with a furoshiki! It’s easier, it’s earth-friendlier, and extremely affordable.