Tsutsumi

The concept of gentle concealment

I had a lovely surprise and treat when I came home this evening: a little parcel in the post from Averil in Madrid. It contained beautiful Japanese material that she got during her trip to Japan this summer.

Tsutsumi from Averil

I thought initially that it was in response to my recent obsession with quilting because of the Tokyo Subway Map; and my subsequent quest for Japanese fabric. Until I noticed she had included a book on the Japanese art of Wrapping using material: “Furoshiki Tsutsumi”. These were no ordinary pieces of Japanese fabric – these were Furoshiki: specially selected and hemmed squares of fabric, with a special purpose in mind: Tsutsumi – the concept of “Gentle Concealment”.

What Averil couldn’t have known, because I’ve never told her (though she’s quite the mind-reader, you know?) is that I’ve been long obsessed with Japanese wrapping and folding and material. Years ago – literally in the last Century – when DH and I were dating, he brought back a book for me from Japan on the whole subject:

Japanese Gift-wrapping

I was fascinated by all the “Creative Ideas From Japan” and would pour over this book repeatedly, yearning for the opportunity when I could try one of them out. Not everyone on this side of the globe would appreciate the effort and thought behind a Japanese-themed wrapping style. As it says in the book’s Introduction:

“In Japan, it is said that giving a gift is like wrapping one’s heart” 

That chance finally came when we were getting married and I designed our Wedding invitations using one of the methods in the book. I used two types of paper that we got in Daintree on Camden Street in Dublin. I’m delighted to note that they’re still around. We also got Daintree to print the inserts – the actual Wedding Invitation information for our guests – and they supplied the envelopes.

There were moments – albeit brief – when I questioned my sanity as sat folding the same thing 60-odd times. The finished invitation was worth it though:
Open InvittionInvitationUn-wrapping

It certainly garnered plenty of comment from my relatives and future in-laws. Some admitted they found it challenging to fold up the invitation again to put it back into the envelope.

So thank you, Averil, for sending me this unexpected treat. It is truly heartening to know that someone has you in their thoughts, even when they’re holidaying on the other side of the world.

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2 Responses to “Tsutsumi”

  1. Alifeofherown Says:

    Wow, that was fast! I only posted it on Friday.

    It is a lovely surprise to read that you were interested in Tsutsumi before. Those wedding invitations look so intricate. I haven’t used the techniques either, because as you said, not everyone appreciates them. But I’ve got plans to wrap some Christmas presents in the cloth. Let’s just say that M won’t be able to rip open his presents this year!

    I’m really glad you enjoyed the surprise. Any photos of your quilting in progress?

  2. Crafty Blog Update 14th-20th November 2010 « Irish Knitting & Crochet Says:

    […] Undermeoxter talks about the art of gentle concealment […]


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