Traditional furoshiki a modern eco-savvy art

July 23rd, 2009

choho comono

Nadine Kam photos
Chiho Comono shows one of her examples of furoshiki wrapping using two furoshiki.

The Japanese Women’s Society Foundation held its annual membership meeting on Sunday, followed by bento lunch and a furoshiki workshop conducted by Chiho Comono of Kyoto, who received a grant to come to Hawaii to share her expertise and help materialists among us become more eco smart.

According to Wikipedia, furoshiki thrived in Japan until the post-war rise of the plastic shopping bag. Now that more people are waking up to the real costs of cheap goods, we’re starting to appreciate the more traditional, more beautiful and earth-friendly practices of our elders.

The idea is that a simple easy-to-pack fabric square has the potential to become a makeshift bag when you’re running errands or out shopping, eliminating the need to pick up another throwaway paper or plastic bag as you pick up things throughout the day.

With a single furoshiki and a few quick folds, she showed how to make a slouchy hobo totes and bigger sling bag, as well as how to dress a gift of wine in kimono-style wrapping. Adding a second folded furoshiki for straps turned a tote into a backpack.

Each member who attended received a furoshiki courtesy of Yoshiyuki Hosokawa of Kyoto’s Daiko Sangyo Co. for practice and to take home.

I went home and started practicing on my Fendi and vintage scarves. I tend to be a purse fiend but now that I can turn any piece of fabric into a purse, I may be able to wait longer periods between new purses. It’s also difficult to find cute evening bags big enough to hold camera, video camera and other essentials and the furoshiki may be a solution I’ll have to try.


Examples of furoshiki wrapping, in which the furoshiki itself is a gift that can be reused.


JWSF members receive instructions on wrapping a wine bottle. If you’re trying this at home, remember a rubber band around the neck of the bottle is your friend in helping to hold the wrapping in place.

rabbit wrap

A gift of fruit is wrapped to look like a rabbit.


Knotting the four corners of the furoshiki turns it into a cap. Tuck the knots under to make a beret.

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2 Responses to “Traditional furoshiki a modern eco-savvy art”

  1. Reiko Eoh:

    Loved this! Interesting blog; especially liked the hobo bag. Now where is that scarf of mine when I want it!?

    The wraps are so pretty. The bunny wrap is so adorable; I knew it was a bunny even even before reading the caption!

  2. Jimmy Ho:

    Check out for more furoshiki techniques

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