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Gift Wrapping with Textiles: Stylish Ideas from Japan    by Chizuko Morita order for
Gift Wrapping with Textiles
by Chizuko Morita
Order:  USA  Can
Kodansha International, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Ayesha Baumgartner

Learn the art of traditional Japanese gift wrapping with cloths, known as Furoshiki. Enjoy wrapping anything for aesthetic appeal - from decorating household items (e.g. making an attractive tissue box cover) to baskets, vases, even wine bottles or any other gift item to which you wish to add a special creative touch. Gift Wrapping with Textiles is a gorgeous book, steeped in history and elegance, a must for anyone who loves decorating or wants to wrap in a fresh and creative way.

From the fascinating history shared in the back of the book you will learn that 'in Japan, wrapping is an activity of great importance. Whether for preserving, storing, tidying, or gift-giving. It is an integral part of daily life. Wrapping and knotting techniques became everyday etiquette in samurai households. The way things were wrapped reflected the value of the contents and the value of the person giving the gift.' Use Wrapping with Textiles to transform your gifts from the ordinary into something extraordinary!

Guided by black and white, step by step, easy to-do wrapping styles, as well as elegant photos of wrapped items, you will find an original way of decorating not only gifts, but your home and accessories. Make an instant backpack out of any colored cloth you wish, add a cloth or large squared scarf - 'hokei-fuhaku, the most common cloth used in Japan for gift wrapping' - with your favorite designs, to any gift. The recipient will not only enjoy the special gift you picked but will have many uses for the scarf used to wrap it.

The beauty and value of gift wrapping with cloth is that, unlike paper, you can wrap the gift over and over again, without losing its shape, while the scarf itself becomes an added gift. Best of all, it is environmentally friendly. Some of the gorgeous wrapping ideas here literally take a minute - follow the knotting technique closely and before you know it, you have created a beautiful package for your item by transforming a piece of cloth or scarf as if by magic.

Whether the wrapping is intended to transport items or to present a gift uniquely, it is sure to delight and become a conversation piece. I especially liked a long-tailed Pheasant wrapping for a rounded gift, and the charming double rose. In a couple of minutes and simple steps, my gift was wrapped using a printed silk scarf that I had at hand. Anyone can try it. Men will enjoy several amazing knots used for sturdiness and aesthetic appeal.

Make pleats, knots twists and turns, and in a flash you have a beautifully presented gift. Enjoy the many uses for Furoshiki with a child. For example, create the Perky Puppy Dog Wrap together. No scissors are needed, just two hands and a cloth or even a child's little finger to help you make something together, with many hours of fun. Create a decorative cushion, make an instant bag or a wreath, or an original table setting. Enjoy the many things that you can wrap even for yourself.

Learn the technique of wrapping with Furoshiki that has been taught to Europeans in Kyoto, Tokyo and Boston by Chizuko Morita. Let photographer Shuichi Yamagata's beautiful pictures inspire you. Each design has a meaning in traditional Japanese Furoshiki that will add a personal touch to the cloths you pick for wrapping. Simple, fun, elegant and amazing, give the gift of Wrapping With Textiles to a creative friend, and why not wrap the book in Furoshiki. I did (after I read the instructions of course!)

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