The Gifted Blog

June 3, 2011

Majoring in Gift Wrapping

I'd like you to meet Ellen.

Ellen Culpepper is studying at the Maryland Institute College of Art. In her undergraduate thesis project, Gifts for Others, she is making three gift wrapping suites for three very different people in her life.

Inspired by her husband, mother, and brother, Ellen has sourced inspiration from around the web, sketched out design ideas, and is in the final stages of putting together her thesis presentation (translation: wrapping lots of gifts!). Her goals are to:
- Investigate how systems of envelopment instill meaning in the gifts we give to others.
- Show how wrapping paper, ribbon, tapes, and tags become tangible artifacts of embodied hospitality and acts of compassion.Use methods of gift-giving and presentation as a framing device for interpersonal relationships.
- Develop a series of gift-giving vignettes—suites of color, pattern, texture, designed wrapping paper, ribbon, packaging elements, cards, tags, confetti, etc.—to present to a recipient.

I am so digging her academic and design-conscious approach to gift wrapping. Her goals above help put words to why gift wrapping is such a satisfying practice for me. It's not superficial, it's conveys something about our relationships with one another. After swapping a few e-mails it's clear Ellen is a fellow gift wrapping aficionado (and also just a super nice gal)!

Take a ramble through her Tumblr to see her work, her sketches, and her inspiration! Check it out: Gifts for Others.

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{Images by Ellen Culpepper}


  1. How interesting! I never put much thought into gift wrapping. I mean I just DO it, most often using recyclables, and try to make it look pretty and suit the recipient. But it can be very meaningful can't it? Just like anything really.

  2. @Michele Pacey - I know...I bet you never thought of it as a "system of envelopment" before!


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