Furoshiki: Wear, Carry, Wrap, Display
Furoshiki (風呂敷) are traditional Japanese wrapping cloths traditionally used to wrap and/or to transport goods, they can be also be used as a scarf, fabric gift wrapping, a food wrapper as a bag, or even as a wall hanging!
Find out more about our guest designers Ellen Martin, Manami Sukurai and Fiona Hall of Camban Studios and their designs below...
Ellen Martin is an Edinburgh based designer who trained as a textile designer at Edinburgh College and then The Glasgow School of Art, where she specialised in Printed Textiles. During her studies, Ellen spent four months at Kyoto Seika University in Japan through an exchange programm. The experience she gained in Japan has greatly informed her approach to design and continues to inspire her work today.
Local Heroes and V&A Dundee commissioned Ellen Martin to create two designs for Daytrippers!
Her large furoshiki-scarf is titled Maple “I lived in Japan during the spring and summer so didn’t get to see the spectacle of the maple trees changing colour, however there are some that are red all year round.” Her smaller sized design is called Omikuji. “This design is based on the paper fortunes found at temples and shrines in Japan. Omikuji are often folded and tied to trees or on rows of wires in the temple or shrine grounds.”
We asked Ellen to describe her design process and her special commission for V&A Dundee.
Maple Furoshiki by Ellen Martin
“With a focus on hand-drawing, collage and repeat pattern, my work captures details found in my surroundings, often when visiting new places. I use a combination of traditional and contemporary techniques including digital printing, screen-printing and katazome - a Japanese resist-dyeing method.”
“Having only launched my design business in 2020, I feel privileged to have the support of Local Heroes and V&A Dundee. Creating bespoke designs for V&A Dundee has been a joy and I can’t wait to see the finished pieces for sale in Scotland’s design museum!"
Ellen founded Ellen Martin Textiles after graduating in 2020, Her work was selected to be featured in the Crafts Council’s Future Edit showcase in London which is intended to introduce makers who have been selected for their creative flair, thoughtful design and skilled execution. Last year, Ellen was awarded funding to produce a new body of work using katazome, a Japanese resist-dyeing method that she learned while studying in Kyoto.
“I continue to practise the technique and also run occasional katazome workshops at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh.”
“I was delighted when Local Heroes contacted me about the project. I’ve followed Local Heroes for a while and when I saw the Daytrippers! collection launch last year, I thought ‘I’d love to work on a project like that’!”
Manami Sakurai is a Tokyo based designer who graduated from Central Saint Martins where she studied fashion and textiles. She gained experience as a textile designer in England, India and Japan, and in 2019 she founded MANAMI SAKURAI. Her atelier is based in the prestigious Taito Designers Village.
Local Heroes and V&A Dundee commissioned Manami to create one large furoshiki-scarf which is titled ‘Daytripper’ and one smaller sized design called ‘Ordinary Day’. Furoshiki are very popular in Japan where they are used to wrap gifts and shopping, hung as artworks to brighten interiors and worn as scarves and bags. We asked Manami to describe her design process and approach to this commission for V&A Dundee.
“I am a storyteller who sends peaceful messages through my textile designs. In my everyday life, I gather my thoughts by seeing different kinds of art, reading books, watching movies and chatting with my friends. Then I start to draw to create designs that have a gentle message. I love hand drawing lines and I believe that free floating lines hold the warm personal touch. I use a variety of drawing and painting tools depending on my mood. I hope my colourful textiles can fill your day with joy and a nostalgic feeling.”
“Designing the ‘Daytripper’ design was challenging for me. I tried to draw it as if it were a page of a picture book. I usually design my textile with repeat prints, so it was a new experience for me to create the design as a one picture story. But overall it was a great experience! The ‘Daytripper design was inspired from my childhood memories of day trips with my family. We would go into forests or hills with our sketch books and sketch what we saw. For me, the idea of a day trip is good memories and fun discoveries, and I wanted to convey these feelings through this design.”
Daytrippers Furoshiki by Manani Sakurai
This year Manami has worked on a variety of projects in Japan. She collaborated with the stationary company Kakimori to design a range of notebook covers and with a Japanese tea company to create special packaging for their Afternoon Tea range of teas and biscuits. At a much larger scale, Manami has created the artwork for a number of construction site building wraps; her colourful drawings of local scenery bring joy to the people passing by.
“I was very excited when I heard from Stacey (director of Local Heroes) because V&A Dundee is one of my favourite museums in the UK! I also love the idea of designing the print for Furoshiki. Furoshiki is the big square cloth we’ve been using in Japan for a long time. There are so many kinds of ways to wrap and carry things using Furoshiki so it is exciting to introduce them to audiences outside of Japan.”
We also commissioned Fiona Hall of Camban Studio in Aberdeen to create a special picnic blanket that will last for many summers to come. Featuring daisies and grass and with a nod to hopscotch and quoits, this design is a refreshing twist on a traditional picnic blanket. Now available to order online with free UK delivery or to buy in-museum.
Playtime picnic blanket by Fiona Hall
Plus we teamed up with the fantastic Laura at Fernweh, in Aberdeen to create two great versatile leather straps, to make your furoshiki's into easy to make and use bags.
These wonderfully versatile straps can be used with any furoshiki to create easy breezy lightweight bags. Theses handmade leather straps are easily attached, letting you use your furoshiki as a shoulder bag. It's just as easy to take off again, and doesn't damage the cloth in any way. The furoshiki and leather strap take up very little space when folded, making them ideal for a summer outdoors and the perfect traveling companion.
Made of natural vegetable leather with brass rivets and a brass D rings and embossed with our Daytrippers! logo
Leather straps by Fernweh
Local Heroes, founded by design curator and exhibition maker Dr Stacey Hunter, is a curatorial studio that connects audiences with contemporary Scottish design and craft.
All the products are available on from our Christiana bikes on the museum plaza (weather permitting), as well as in our shop or online