Traditional indigo blue-dyeing at Blaudruckerei Koó

The Koó family owns one of the two last indigo dye-works in Austria (in Steinberg, Burgenland). Blueprinting has been included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Josef Koó and his wife Miriam Schwack are dyeing the fabrics of placemats, napkins, tablecloths, scarves and postcards in elaborate handwork and in a traditional way for the Secession.

The printing block for the Secession (design: Ferdinand Andri, 1902) was hand-crafted from brass and felt by one of the few engravers in Europe.

A color-repellent paste is applied to a white fabric with the printing block to create the motif and to reserve the pattern in the dyeing process.

The color-repellent paste consists of gum arabic (acacia resin) from Sudan among other things.

After the paste has been drying for weeks, the printed fabric is put in an iron frame and dipped in a dyeing vat filled with indigo dye several times.

After that, the paste is washed out and the fabric is hung to dry where the color develops.

They have one of the last surviving machines to print long pieces of fabric with print rolls.

The plant-derived Indigo is shipped from India.

Natural indigo dye is produced from dyer’s woad and the indigo plant.

Traditional fabric patterns

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