Sunday, November 6, 2011


In traditional Japanese culture, people used furoshiki, a square piece of wrapping cloth to transport kimono, bento, gifts and many other things.  After the use of plastic bags became common in the post-war period, the number of furoshiki users almost diminished.  In the recent years, however, the trend of using furoshiki has come back again along with the eco-friendly movement.  Just a square piece of cloth can be wrapped in so many different ways, kind of like origami.  They also come in different sizes, designs, and types of fabric.

My sister found this furoshiki in Japan and gave it to me.  The design motif of the fabric is paper cranes!

I can wrap a bottle of wine to take it to a party, like this...

When I go to check out some books at a library, I can wrap the books like this:

Or, if I am going to a spa and need to bring change of clothes, I can wrap them like this.

Really, they are so versatile, eco-alternative to plastic bags and elegant alternative to eco-bags.  This website shows many techniques on how to wrap furoshiki.  You can buy one there, on Etsy, or many other places.  You can also use just a square scarf as a wrap cloth too!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Origami Caravan Auction for the Japanese Orphanage

I recently read an article on the rebuilding updates in the northern part of Japan after the March 11 disaster.  The article shows a few sets of photos, and each set includes a shot of right after the disaster, another shot at the same location after 3 months, and finally the 3rd shot being 6 months after.  It's this article.  You can see how much progress people have made recovering each area over time.  There surely is a lot of progress.  But the photos prove that it takes time to come back from something of this magnitude.

If you are wondering how you could help, here is an exciting opportunity to help some orphans from the disaster, especially if you are an origami enthusiast like me.

Mr. Makoto Yamaguchi, one of the foremost origami creators, has a volunteer project called Origami Caravan, which started as several visits to evacuation centers with origami paper and books, in order to lift the spirits of the survivors.  Now the project has progressed to collecting donations for the orphanage in the affected area.  Origami Caravan came up with this idea of asking some renown origami artists to donate their original artworks, and auctioning off those items online so they can donate the profits from the auctions to the orphanage.  What a great idea!

You can read more about this project and bid on the items from the official site of Origami Caravan.  The auctions are happening on eBay as of right now (Nov. 5, 2011) and will go on at least for a few more days.  A new item comes on every day.  Participating artists include Makoto Yamaguchi, Tomoko Fuse, Michael LaFosse, Satoshi Kamiya, and many more.  This is a rare opportunity to bid on an original artwork of an origami artist that you always admired, for a very good cause!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Origami Baby Cards

A couple of my co-workers at school are currently expecting baby girls.  Since their due dates are coming close almost at the same time, we are having a baby shower for both of them.  In addition to pitching in money to buy them gifts, I volunteered to make cards for them.

Here is another version of an origami baby card.  This hatching egg model is from Origami Jewelry book by Ayako Brodek.