It's a (green) wrap 02 : Inspiration

Dear friends,
What makes you happy?
For me, it is definitely gift wrapping.
Simply because I always associate gift wrapping with good feelings; feeling good while wrapping the gift, feeling good while seeing someone react joyously when they receive and unwrap their presents. Priceless indeed.
Hence, I am very intrigued by the idea of gift wrapping and how it actually began and evolved. 
While I walking and searching for an answer,  I randomly picked up a big dried shell with its seeds in Taiwan's Chi Shang. The image of the shell I picked below reminded me of a simple gift wrapping - not overly decorated with ribbons or confetti but quietly doing its job to protect what's within its shell. Nature is great, the more you pay attention to observe it, the more you'll find traces of our modern design. 

bāo 
/wrap
It is a layer of protection, protecting what's within.
According to research from the internet, during ancient times, primitive civilisations began to use natural ingredients such as tree leaves, seashells, bamboos and gourds as a layer of protection to transport or store food and goods.

The first gift-wrapping event was documented in the Southern Song Dynasty because of the birth of "paper"(it was made with tree bark, hemp, scrap fabric, scrap fishnet and other ingredients) by Cai Lun. This great invention was then made into an envelope for monetary gifts and become the first gift wrapping in history. 

In Chinese, wrapping means 包装 (bāo zhuāng),if you look at the origin of this 包 (bāo) character,  it derives from the shape and a layer of protection for a baby (so are shells for its seeds); 装 (zhuāng), as a container or decoration.
The essence of gift wrapping is to provide a space/ layer of protection which had been carefully decorated with love and care by the receiver.
Like a mother to her baby; like Mother Nature to us.
image via CHAZIWANG
image via CHAZIWANG

Inspiration from nature
left | clam and its shell as protection, right | Murex Troschel 
left | Chi Shang rice in its shell, right | Chi Shang Quinoa in its shell


Inspiration from human, wrapping material: kraft paper
left | Organic Soap packaging from Perak, Malaysia, right | Traditional Chinese Medicine wrapping from Malacca with instruction and contact details

Inspiration from wet market wrapping material: handwoven basket
Kembong fish from Pangkor is marinated with salt and steamed, then carefully organized and packed in a handwoven basket. It has been a delicacy for Teow Chew people to pair Kembong fish with their porridge and I am so glad that this wrapping tradition has not changed in the past 30 years. (The picture was taken at Seremban wet market) 

Inspiration from the wet market, wrapping material: string
Wild mushroom from Vietnam being sundried, tied with string and pierced with a stick

Maximizing resources by using parts of onions' and garlic's own stems as a tying material, photo taken at Or Tor Kor, Bangkok wet market.


Natural fibre (believed to be banana fibre) as a wrapping material for pomelo (photo was taken at Or Tor Kor wet market)

A bundle of lemongrass wrapped with a simple raffia string - a simple resource to a great solution. (photo taken at Seremban wet market) 
  
It's amazing to see how a simple string assemble into a beautiful wreath (photo taken at Or Tor Kor wet market)
  
Inspiration from traditional shop wrapping material: string
A brewing master, tying 8 bottles of his handmade rose rice wine with pride. (photo taken at liquor wholesales store 郑绵元 in Malacca)
Mr Low tying 6 bottles of his homemade soy sauce in Gopeng, Hup Teck Soy Sauce Factory. Probably one of the tidiest finishing I've ever seen, the secret is to practice every day. Mr Low mentioned that the combination of 7 or 8 bottles is the hardest to tie into a single bundle.  


Instead of re-using used wrapping paper and ribbons, perhaps it's time to make a switch to gift wrap with what's available on your hands. Wrap it slowly, make it beautiful and allow your efforts to be delivered along with the gift that you want to give.
PS: Your present is being present

With love,
Waee


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