Mottainai! is a Japanese phrase which translates as 'What a waste!'
It's an apt name for our Organic Mottainai Furoshiki which is coloured in Forest Green (see above photo). The phrase has been adopted by environmentalists who are keen to encourage us to 'reduce, reuse, and recycle', which is exactly how furoshiki can fit into your lifestyle.
We’re all looking for ways to live our lives in a more mindful way – ways that mean we’re being a little bit kinder to the planet.
Sometimes small changes are the way to start, and so today we’re going to take a look at the benefits of using the Japanese concept of furoshiki as part of our daily lives.
What is furoshiki?
Furoshiki wrapping is a bit like origami – you take a square piece of fabric and fold it and tie it to make one of many different styles of gift-wrapping or bag. It’s very easy to do, and like any craft, it’s a nice thing to do – it’s calming and meditative.
A furoshiki is easy to use: your gift is placed in the centre of the fabric which is then folded around it and fastened with a knot. To make a bag, you simply lay out your furoshiki and fold and tie it in a symmetrical way.
Fabric wrapping has seen an enormous rise in interest over the last months, as people reconsider their old way of life. Eco-friendly wrapping searches on Etsy are up by 78%!
A furoshiki is a reusable alternative to unrecyclable paper wrapping and plastic tape
We’re all looking for eco-friendly alternatives when it comes to wrapping presents, whether it’s for weddings, birthdays, or special holidays like Christmas. The fast-growing trend for furoshiki reflects the knowledge that there’s a more sustainable and elegant way to wrap gifts than the old way of paper and plastic tape, tags and bows.
Furoshiki bags are a truly beautiful and practical alternative to the plastic shopping bag.
So why not make the change today? Here are just some of our reasons why you should make furoshiki a part of your daily life!
makes a gorgeous Kyoto Bag!
Furoshiki are versatile
Furoshiki are traditional Japanese cloths used to transport all sorts of items including food, clothes and gifts. Both attractive and reusable, they are increasingly being embraced by shoppers as a sustainable alternative to plastic bags.
Furoshiki are reusable
We believe that the reason that furoshiki are so popular is partly because of the long tradition of beauty that is part of the Japanese furoshiki, and partly because of their greener credentials. Furoshiki are long-lasting, and can be reused over and over again.
Our soft organic furoshiki help to protect your items, and are versatile, reusable, adaptable, and washable
Furoshiki are adaptable
We’ve all been encouraged to take our own bags shopping with us when we shop at supermarkets, and these shops have played their part by introducing the plastic bag charge.
A furoshiki bag can be tied in many different ways to accommodate your shopping, to suit all sorts of awkward shapes. You can create all sorts of different styles of bag to suit your shopping needs – there’s even a wrap that is perfect to carry a watermelon!
makes a versatile Leaf Bag.
Large furoshiki can carry your shopping or bundles of clothes and books, while smaller furoshiki can wrap your plates or a pie. Furoshiki can wrap most things, and the softness of them protects your items too!
A furoshiki double bottle wrap in our extra large 100cm Adeline Klam Organic Cotton Furoshiki
Furoshiki wrap presents securely and safely. There are all sorts of furoshiki gift-wrapping styles that can accommodate those awkwardly shaped presents and make your gift look professionally wrapped. Small furoshiki bags are perfect for gifting loose products like bath gifts or make-up. Furoshiki bottle wraps are the best way we know of gifting bottles of wine, because they look so attractive, and they protect the bottle too. And furoshiki gift-wraps create a real statement that is a joy for the receiver to undo!
Furoshiki are washable
Furoshiki are washable, and the more you use them the softer they become. When you’re not using them they collapse down into squares of folded fabric, which are light and easy to carry. Best of all they're long-lasting, which has to be a better thing for the planet :)
Just some of our beautiful organic furoshiki instore!
We stock organic cotton furoshiki
Here at Zusetsu we stock a range of soft organic cotton furoshiki in both the small gift-wrap size and the extra large bag size. They have been designed beautifully and are hugely popular. Their packaging has been thoughtfully designed too: it is a simple but attractive slim paper sleeve.
Furoshiki are a big part of the present
We love using furoshiki as gift wrapping! Part of the appeal of fabric wrapping is that it is a present in itself: a large furoshiki gift-wrapping will create a beautiful bag, and a smaller furoshiki gift-wrapping can make a gorgeous hair tie, a vase wrap, or a book cover. The recipient not only enjoys an elegantly wrapped gift but if they choose they can also reuse the furoshiki to wrap and give a gift of their own.
A picnic party under the cherry blossom, with gift-wrapped presents in organic furoshiki
Create a circle of giving with furoshiki
Why not create a circle of giving with friends and family. As you carefully wrap your loved one’s present in their personal furoshiki, your love will wrap itself around your present too!
When I’m given a present by my friend wrapped in furoshiki, I re-gift it back to her another time, and I always think of her as I wrap her present. We’ve created a circle of giving. There’s a magic in creating a new tradition in this way, and passing the furoshiki between us.
We’ve expanded our circle of giving within our families too. Furoshiki absorb the happy memories and special moments of being with our loved ones.
A furoshiki Christmas is breathtakingly beautiful!
We have a big box of furoshiki that we all dive into when we have a celebration. At Christmas, we wrap our presents and put them under the Christmas tree where they look incredibly beautiful. After Christmas, instead of throwing out piles of glittery paper and plastic tape, we simply fold away our furoshiki until the next time we have a birthday or occasion to celebrate!
Why not gift a small set of furoshiki to each family member, so that they have their gifts from you in their chosen patterns! In this way the presents are wrapped in the same beloved furoshiki year after year. What could be nicer than furoshiki that are a personal connection between yourself and those you love?
There’s a magic about furoshiki that stems from their connection to the spiritual tying of the Emperor’s treasures in the Japanese court of Nara over a thousand years ago :)
A furoshiki workshop at The Ned, London, with Cathy and Yukki
Learn how to wrap furoshiki with us!
Furoshiki are intriguing, and beautiful. The wrapping styles are ingenious and clever, and yet they’re fun to learn and simple to master.
Here at Zusetsu we have a growing online Furoshiki Tutorial library where you can find illustrations and videos to get you started making all sorts of furoshiki wraps!
If you would like us to guide you through the beautiful art of furoshiki, why not sign up for one of our workshops? Check out our Events page to see when our next online and in-person events are going to be, and sign up to our Newsletter, to keep informed of all our latest dates!
If you have enjoyed this article, why not take a look at this one for more ideas to get you started: How to Make a Furoshiki Bag for your Grocery Shopping.
For more articles about furoshiki and sustainability take a look at our About Furoshiki page here!
Thank you for reading,
Cathy and Yukki
Gwendolyn Smith, The Guardian: 'Why Reusable Cloth Could Consign Christmas Gift-wrap to the Bin'.
Mottainai : Wikipedia