Blueprint in the Koó blueprint in Steinberg

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Creative craft in Burgenland

I can still remember it well. My grandmother liked to wear blue print aprons when she worked in her kitchen. For me, these blue fabrics and the smell of fresh pastries are among my earliest childhood memories. The aprons were made of durable cotton. They became increasingly paler as they got older. They only radiated the intense blue when they were bought new. After that, the radiance became more and more lost with every wash. “This is typical for blue print fabrics,” Josef Koó explains to us. We are guests of the last blueprinter in the Koó blueprinting shop in Steinberg Burgenland. Josef Koó and his wife Miriam talk about this traditional craft in Burgenland to this day.




The last blue printer in Burgenland: Josef Koó - Handwerk im Burgenland
The last blue printer in Burgenland: Josef Koó - Handwerk im Burgenland


Blueprint is an intangible world heritage

In the town of Steinberg, south of Lake Neusiedl, not far from the Austrian-Hungarian border, Josef Koó runs the last blueprinting shop in Burgenland. “There used to be several blue printers in this state alone,” he explains to us. “Today there is only one other blue printer in the whole of Austria.” “A dying craft, right?” I want to know. And Josef Koó laughs: “Blue printing is currently experiencing a renaissance. Craftsmanship and its individuality are in demand again. And we’re happy about that.”



The model of the blue printing company Koó - handicraft in Burgenland
The models are often several hundred years old - crafts in Burgenland


Fabrics, shoes, bags and more from blue print

No wonder, look at the pretty fabrics. These are printed with two different patterns on both sides. The Koós are inventive. In this textile print shop, all operations are still performed manually. So you do not just print linen or cotton. Also silk fabrics, T-shirts, shoes, bags, hats, pot warmers adorn the blue and white patterns. These are typical of the blue print. The patterns themselves vary. Small, filigree flowers, diamonds, stripes, dots, borders, large flowers or even elephants decorate the products of the Koó family. Pretty, they are all.


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The term "blueprint" is actually a misnomer. Because it is a dyeing process. The patterns are not printed on the paint. Instead, you put a model on the fabric. The sample models are often very old. A color-repellent compound is applied to the fabric via the model. This cardboard prevents the color from penetrating the fabric at these points. The recipe for cardboard is the secret of the blueprinters. Among the Koós, this only knows Josef Koó. His wife Miriam laughs: "It's a family secret that not even I know."

Then the fabric has to dry. Only then does the blueprint printer stretch the lengths of fabric on a roll of fabric and immerse them in the dye bath. Finally, he removes the cardboard with dilute sulfuric acid.


Blueprint pillow - craft in Burgenland
Blueprint pillow - craft in Burgenland


Where does the blue print come from?

Blue printing is a very old craft. It is already known in ancient China, India and Egypt. The first calico print shop was built in Amsterdam. And Jeremias Neuhofer brought the craft with him to Germany. Blue printing was particularly popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. However, with increasing industrialization, crafts became less important. The manufacturing process was too complex. Only in recent years has the demand for handmade sample fabrics increased again.


Straw hat in the Koó blueprinting shop
Straw hat and summer dress - craft in Burgenland

What color is used for blueprint?

In blue printing, indigo is used to dye the fabrics. This is initially a light green. Only during the dyeing process does it turn a dark blue. Marco Polo brought indigo to Europe in the 13th century. However, indigo was too expensive because of the long transport route. Instead, woad was used in Europe. This was cultivated on a large scale, especially in Thuringia. Only when the Portuguese discovered the sea route to India did cotton and indigo arrive in Europe in sufficient quantities.

How many blue printers are there?

In Germany there are only twelve companies that produce blueprints. There are also fifteen more in European countries. The Koós are one of two blueprinting companies in Austria that still use old methods to dye the fabrics.

The atmosphere at Koós is definitely creative. They work with workshops, designers and artists who create beautiful products from their materials. But Miriam Koó is also an artist. She completed her studies at the art college in Linz and presents her works under her maiden name Miriam Schwack .

If you want to see real blueprints for yourself, you can do so here, for example:

Original Burgenland indigo hand blue print
Blueprint Koó

Neugasse 14
7453 Steinberg
Burgenland, Austria

T: + 43 (0) 2612 8471


Blueprint in Burgenland
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Discover Slow Travel Recommendations for example here.

Source: On-site research at the invitation of Burgenland Tourismus. However, our opinion remains our own.

Text Blaudruckerei Koó: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Video: © Copyright Petar Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline

Blueprint in the Koó blueprint in Steinberg

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Slow Travel and Enjoyment travel blog TravelWorldOnline Traveller. You have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Your topics are Trips to Savor and wine tourism worldwide and Slow Travel. During her studies, Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she traveled to the USA and Canada - sometimes together with Petar Fuchs - and spent a research year in British Columbia. This strengthened her thirst for knowledge, which she pursued for 6 years Adventure Guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as Study tour guide for Studiosus Reisen tried to breastfeed all over the world. She constantly expanded her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: “What is beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do you eat in this region?” These are the questions she is now trying to answer as a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), among others. travel writer and travel blogger answers in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is below Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021 Other Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs. Recommendations on LinkedIn from tourism experts Further recommendations from cooperation partners and tourism experts Professional experience Monika on LinkedIn

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