Welcome to the enchanting world of furoshiki, where timeless tradition meets contemporary art. We are thrilled to announce the launch of Keiko Furoshiki, a Kansas City-based business dedicated to spreading the beauty and versatility of furoshiki to the world – or at least the USA to start! As we unwrap the story behind our business, we invite you to join us on this journey of art, culture, and sustainability with our reusable fabric gift wrap.
The Art of Furoshiki: A Timeless Tradition
Furoshiki, a centuries-old Japanese art form, captures the essence of simplicity and grace. Its roots can be traced back to ancient Japan, where it was an integral part of daily life. The art of furoshiki centers around the use of fabric squares, sometimes plain, sometimes quite luxurious, to wrap gifts, carry belongings, and even create fashion accessories.
What makes furoshiki truly special is its eco-friendly nature, encouraging us to embrace a sustainable lifestyle by reducing waste. Incorporating furoshiki into your everyday life is an invitation to experience more beauty, intention, and elegance in our fast-paced lives.
Unveiling Our Passion: The Story Behind Keiko Furoshiki
Keiko Kira, the artist behind our prints and the namesake of our brand is a Kansas City-based artist and teacher, and a master of merging the enchanting elements of traditional Japanese art with contemporary expressions.
Together with her son Tyler, a product designer, and daughter-in-law Andrea (hi!), a digital marketer, we’ve built Keiko Furoshiki as a way to bring all of our passions and skills together into a family business. Keiko Furoshiki is ⅔ AAPI-owned and ⅔ Woman-owned. Learn more about our story on our About Us page.
Keiko Kira's journey as an artist began in Beppu, Japan, where she spent her childhood marveling at the ever-changing colors of the nearby mountains. As a teenager, she left Japan to pursue her education in the United States, eventually studying Fine Arts at the University of Kansas and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After completing her studies, Keiko took on the role of an art instructor at the renowned Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, where she continues to inspire others with her passion for creativity.
Currently serving as an Adjunct Professor of Fine Arts, Keiko's artistic expression draws upon the vivid memories of Japan's natural beauty, such as the pale pink and lime greens of spring, the blue and orange hues of summer, and the vibrant greens of the sea. Furthermore, she weaves the essence of Japan's diverse cultural celebrations, such as Kagami Mochi, Hina Matsuri, Sakura spring cherry blossoms, and the rainy season in the rice fields, each with its unique color schemes.
Keiko (age 4) with her mother Tamiko Kira and younger sister Noriko (age 2) in Kyoto.
Keiko with her father and younger sister Noriko.
Reflecting the rich tapestry of Japanese aesthetics, Keiko finds inspiration in the simple yet significant objects of her childhood home, including her mother's floral arrangements, decorative gift boxes, kimono prints, crochet sweaters, and indigo dinnerware. These treasured everyday items serve as symbolic artifacts, seamlessly blending function and beauty in her captivating designs.
Furoshiki in the Modern World: From Trend to Sustainable Lifestyle
Keiko Furoshiki was born out of a deep appreciation for Japanese culture and a desire to spread the art of furoshiki but with a fun, vibrant, and sustainability-focused twist. Among its many uses, Furoshiki is a great solution to the problem of non-recyclable wrapping paper.
Annually, the United States generates a staggering 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper, with nearly half, approximately 2.3 million pounds, ultimately finding its way to landfills. A simple yet impactful solution lies within reach; if each American family chose to wrap only three presents using reused materials, the collective effort could save an astonishing amount of paper – enough to cover an expansive 45,000 football fields!
Bright and Bold Furoshiki: Our First 8 Prints
This first furoshiki collection features eight floral prints in bright and unexpected colors. Our designer Keiko Kira chose flowers as the inspiration for our inaugural collection because of the memory of my mother’s garden. “It was always so exciting to see colorful flowers and buds on tree branches in early spring. In Japan, a new school year starts in April under the Japanese government's fiscal system. (In 1886, Japan’s fiscal year was established from April to March.) When students begin a new academic year in April, we also see the iconic cherry blossoms. Since this is our very first collection, I wanted to create a collection that signified the beginning of our journey." Although inspired by Japanese aesthetics, there is something decidedly cheeky and rebellious about Keiko's designs. Her use of bold color and prints is sure to catch anybody's attention.
Not sure how to wrap your furoshiki? Discover the joy of furoshiki as we guide you through various furoshiki folding and wrapping techniques for different purposes. From stylish gift wrapping to eco-conscious grocery shopping, furoshiki empowers you to make a positive impact on the environment. With its reusability, each furoshiki becomes a cherished companion, advocating a shift away from disposable wrapping materials.
Thank you for supporting our business!