Furoshiki has nurtured various techniques over a long period of time. Many of the technical methods are unique to Japan and furoshiki. In recent years, machine printings have come to be used as well.
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Traditionally the materials used for furoshiki were silk and cotton. Rayon which can be regarded as a substitute for silk, polyester which can be said to be a substitute for cotton, chemical fibers such as nylon and acetate are also used. As research on semi-synthetic fibers combining natural fiber and chemical fiber advances, fabrics with various characteristics such as waterproof although cloth have been developed.
Traditional manufacturing methods include “chirimen” (crepe) and “tsumugi” (pongee).
Chirimen (crepe) is a plain woven of silk using a weak twisted yarn in the warp and strong twisted yarn in the weft, and it embosses unevenness that is stretchy on the surface called shibo (embossed). It has a sense of luxury with the texture of the gorgeous surface and its suppleness. Shrink and delicate when wet in water. Chirimen (crepe) woven with silk can be divided into thick “Ooshibo-chirimen” (large embossed crepe) and thin “rochirimen” (leno crape).
Tsumugi (pongee) is a silk fabric that was plain woven with tsumugi yarn which is taken out from silkworms’ mayu (cocoon) and strong twisted to enhance intensity. Thickness of yarn twisted by hands is different in some parts, and it generates deep taste. While using silk, which is a delicate fiber, it does not have much gloss and is extremely durable.
There is “ro” (leno) which is the silk fabric woven by a special production method to be thin, so that it is comfortable to spend even in the intense heat of summer.
Cotton is easy to wash and care, traditionally the most common furoshiki material. Depending on the manufacturing method of fabrics, there are varieties such as cotton Shantung, cotton lawn, Tian Shan cotton, broad cotton and Nishijinori.
In the case of rayon, it is common to be processed like chirimen (crepe), and shrinks like silk if it contains water.
Polyester has a unique smooth luster. Because it is very durable, it is hard to have wrinkles even if it is thin. It is a material that anyone can handle.
Nylon is also durable and light, so it is convenient to carry. It has strength and elasticity, is less likely to get wrinkles, has low water absorbency and quick drying, and is easy to wash.
Acetate is a semisynthetic fiber with silky texture and touch, and also moderate water absorption. Because it is weak against heat and friction, and its strength decreases if it contains water, attention must also be paid to washing so as not to get loads to the fabric.
For dyes, traditional ones are natural dyes taken from plants etc., which are characterised with natural rustic colors. At present, chemical dyes are also used, and it is possible to control delicate color variations.
Aizome (indigo dye):
Among many dyes, ai (indigo) is well known for its beautiful deep blue shades. It uses fermented tadeai (dyer’s knotweed) as a dye. Indigo dyed fabrics also have deodorant and moth proofing effects.
Shiborizome (tie dye):
Shibori (tie-dyeing) emphasises the pattern by intentionally creating an imbalance in penetration of the dye, for example by binding the cloth firmly. There is not a fixed mold, but the texture that is brewed out by the wrinkles of tie and the penetration of moisture obtained by the shibori (tie) that is applied to the cloth is very ingenuous and you don’t get bored of.
Hikizome (drawing dye):
Drawing dye permeates dyes into the fabric with a brush. The difference between the part where the dye penetrates and the part dye doesn’t penetrate becomes a pattern. There are “mold starch laying” and “pipe drawing” as a method to determine the part the dye does not soaked in.
Inzome (mark dye):
Inzome (mark dye) is a dyeing method of putting marks on the fabric as it says. There are many examples and family crests etc. were dyed often in the past, and it uses a mold to dye out so that it stands out clearly from both front and back. Even if it does not look like a mark at first glance, there are cases that the technique of inzome (mark dye) is used.
Currently, digital inkjet printing and sublimation printing allow you to print photos and pictures based on data files at your will.
Since digital ink jet is a type that it blows dye directly onto the fabric, it is highly accurate, and it can print digital images, and it can be used for both natural fibers such as cotton and chemical fibers such as polyester.
Sublimation print is a technique of putting a transfer paper once printed with inkjet and cloth together, then sublimation transfer printing by heated roller. So it can only be used for polyester furoshiki.
Pigment printing is different from dyeing in precise. Instead of color penetrating into the fibers of the cloth, putting a picture on the surface with pigments as if painting a picture on furoshiki as a campus.
Furoshiki is made by cutting a long fabric into a little longer than a square and finishes it with threefold seam. It is also common to keep the selvedge as it is without cutting off, which was from weaving the fabric. The shape of the completed furoshiki is a square or a quadrangle that is close to a square.
Author: Takuya Nagata. Amazon ProfileFollow @nagatackle
Novel writer, Creator. Graduated from UCA, the UK’s university. Discussed Japanese minimalism in the senior thesis. Founder of “MINIЯISM” (minirism), the art movement that contributes to the development of societies, such as ecology and lifestyle. Covered various fields as a writer in different parts of Europe, and later launched the knowledge hub “The Minimalist.”
Once travelled to Brazil and trained football at CFZ do Rio (Centro de Futebol Zico Sociedade Esportiva) in Rio de Janeiro. Played soccer for the Urawa Reds (Urawa Red Diamonds), one of the biggest football clubs in Japan, and toured Europe. Retired at a young age and voyaged alone to England. Established careers as journalist, football coach, consultant, etc. across Europe such as Spain. Knowledgeable in creative and technology fields as well. The founder of “Propulsive Football” (PROBALL), the world’s first-ever competitive mixed football, facilitating diversity and spirit for equal participation in society.