A Visit to Indigo Textile Dying at Blaudruckerei Koó in Burgenland, Austria

Blaudruck is a traditional method of textile dying with indigo. Actually the word printing (Druck) is confusing since the textile is dyed with indigo, not printed. Joseph Koó located in Burgenland is one of only two remaining Indigo-dyers in Austria maintaining the craft his grandfather once started in 1921. Blaudruck as practised by Koó is declared “a traditional craft in the UNESCO heritage lists of trades worth protecting”. We visited Joseph and his wife Miriam on site.

Blaudruck is a traditional method of textile dying with indigo. Actually the word printing (Druck) is confusing since the textile is dyed with indigo, not printed. Joseph Koó located in Burgenland is one of only two remaining Indigo-dyers in Austria maintaining the craft his grandfather once started in 1921. Blaudruck as practised by Koó is declared “a traditional craft in the UNESCO heritage lists of trades worth protecting”. We visited Joseph and his wife Miriam on site.

The place is one idyllic garden with attached workshop, showroom and the indigo basins. The later are two basins that are four meters deep and contain indigo-colored water. The power of indigo is sustainable enough to last for decades. In 20 years only little indigo had to be added along with little water. Before the cloth goes into the basin for a couple of times, the actual printing happens. It is a natural wax that is applied via various stamps, available in various patterns. Once the pattern is finished it is hanged to dry. The next step is then the dying.

The speciality is that the fabric can be stamped with different patterns. One on each side. This, by the way came in handy when the cloth was used for aprons in the old days. Indigo blue aprons were worn throughout the Alpine region and beyond every day, six days a week. Naturally they accumulated dirt and specks, so on the sevenths day, the apron was turned and the cleaner side was used for the more formal attire of the Sunday.

Today Miriam and Joseph are experimenting with slightly more modern patterns. Blaudruck has reached a cult-status in the denim trade and many stores and brands are ordering tailor made handkerchiefs and scarves. In absence of an Online shop the only way to get your hands on a piece is to actually go there. Our films show what to expect. Find Blaudruckerei Koó online at originalblaudruck.at

Want to know more about Koó Blaudruck? Check out their website:

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