The Japanese are masters at gift-giving. They consider the wrapping and presentation of the gift equally as important as the gift. Unlike flashy Christmas paper, bows, and ornaments, their outer decoration often reflects nature and has an air of simplicity.
One style is called "origata", which is wrapping things in special Japanese paper called "washi." This is a very old tradition dating back to the Muromachi period beginning in 1336. Here is a video that shows someone doing the technique. You make very sharp corners with only one piece of tape (or pretty sticker) to keep it all closed. The video is is not in English, but will step you through the technique. To learn more about this technique check out this website.
Tsutsumi is a very simple, yet stunning, method of creating and decorating a package. The papers are gorgeous and the ties are often natural fibers or thin ribbons. But combined, they make a delicate, sophisticated package. Many times the actual object becomes part of the package. Here are two examples, a tea whisk and chop sticks.
Origami is derived from "ori" (folding) and "kami" (paper). This is a style of folding paper which can be used for many things, such as creating a package or decoration. Origami is a fascinating art form. Check out this website to learn about the different folds and create some of your own designs.
Here is a site by Reader’s Digest for creating the box using recycled cardboard boxes. This is right in line with a more natural and simplistic look.
Gifts for Pillow Boxes
In November the Embroiderer’s Guild of Canada board of directors met in Winnipeg. Many of the ladies came down and visited us before and after their meeting. Beryl, the 2013 EAC Seminar Chairperson, made a unique gift box created with origami using wrapping paper. She provided the video link so we can all create our own!
Here is the Origami Box along with some gift ideas that would fit into this box.
At the Fiber Arts Festival this summer, Kim Baird demonstrated furoshiki, the eco-friendly wrapping cloth technique. It can be used for gift wrapping, creating grocery shopping bags, baskets, or simply as decor. Choose from a wide variety of sizes and designs of cloth to complement your gift. One great reason for trying furoshiki is can be done with "recycled" materials which can be reused and re-purposed. Its versatility allows you to wrap almost anything regardless of its shape or size. This is a wonderful site showing techniques for wrapping almost anything! Click on an image and it will take you to a step-by-step diagram.
Here are some gift ideas that are wrapped up using furoshiki.
Craft light done in the Box Wrap with the handle pulled down tight as a bow
The String Thing in an Apple Wrap
Skinny Mini Pouchdone in the Roll Wrap 1 with this lovely red scarf with hearts and "Love" written all over it!
Stitcher’s Choice Cookbook This cookbook is wrapped with two kitchen towels using Gift Wrap 6. This would be a wonderful technique with two embroidered tea towels!
You can use simple ornaments to decorate your packages. The Japanese have developed a totally different style which involves cutting the paper called kirigami. "Kiru" means cut and "kami" means paper and it also means god. As stitcher’s we are inspired by the spider, so here you can learn how to make a spider web with this video. There are also many other video projects available on this site.
Japan wasn’t the only culture to do paper cutting. The Mexican version is called "papel picado." "Scherenschnette" is German meaning "scissor cut". This technique originated in Switzerland and Germany and was brought over to the United States with the early colonists. Karen Bit Vejle is a master in the Norwegian art of "psaligraphy." Her work is absolutely breathtaking!
Hopefully this has given you some ideas to think outside of the usual Christmas box!
We hope this guide makes your stitching easier and more enjoyable!
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