In search of fresh material for The Gifted Blog, I searched for gift wrapping books on the Pasadena public library system. I love using their website. When I come across books that look interesting online, I just hop on over and request the item if it's available.
I found a book called How to Wrap Five More Eggs: Traditional Japanese Packaging. Based on Hideyuki Oka's out-of-print book How to Wrap Five Eggs(first published in 1965), the book visually documents several examples of packaging from the 60s and 70s.
What a far cry from any packaging I've encountered at the grocery store! Fermented soybeans in a pottery jar, mochi wrapped in bamboo leaves, and seasoned dried fish enclosed in rustic reed matting. You can browse some of the images here and preview the book itself here.
Plates 5 and 6, How to Wrap Five More Eggs
The author write about two "lineages" of traditional Japanese packaging, and I'll highlight the first in this post:
First and foremost is that source that might be called the utilitarian lineage, a kind of crystallization of the wisdom that comes from everyday life. Doubtless the earliest packaging was accomplished by wrapping a given object in whatever material lay at hand. The outcome was often not only adequate for storing and transporting the object but might well have been a simple, beautiful shape free of all excess and extravagance. One example would be the straw holders for eggs. (pg 8 )What an interesting idea. One way to approach wrapping gifts is to look to the materials in abundance around you (as the farmer did with his rice straw) and use it accordingly.
Plate 12, How to Wrap Five More Eggs
I had a little 'ah-ha!' moment when I read this. I noticed how much of my gift wrapping uses food packaging and started to feel a little self-conscious about it. But with this description, it makes sense. Most of the trash I create is from food. And I am not a rice farmer. It follows that, when I look for the materials around me, food packaging is what is readily available for gift-wrapping!
I feel this post is long enough, so I will save my thoughts for additional posts. For the full introduction text to How to Wrap Five More Eggs, click here.
What about you? What materials are readily available around you? Can they be used for gift wrapping?
- Wrap Story: Edible Gifts in Jars. Super simple "wrapping" with olive and spaghetti sauce jars.
- Wrap Story: Monogrammed Greens Box. Turning a plastic salad greens box into a gift box worthy of a wedding gift!
- Tutorial Tryout: Bagelope. Speaking of readily available materials, have you looked in your recycling bin recently? Here, a mini gift bag made from an old envelope.