Sorbian Inspiration – Traditional Tuesday

In 1734, South-eastern Prussia a guild was founded for the blue and Schönfärber crafts, wherein linen, and in later years cotton fabrics, were printed using a particular indigo blue dye and a resist process.Kornaehren.jpg

History and Development

Although Blaudruck or Blueprint fabric design is highly parochial and a traditional folk art, rather than existing on a commercial level,  the ideas and inspiration for this form of textile design, had its roots in the wider art forms of the eighteenth century. Peasants from Cottbus and Lusatia were influenced by elaborate tapestries, expensive furnishings and blue and white porcelain styles  they saw in around them during the 18th century. Blueprint then developed into a cottage industry of hand-woven linen fabrics, made by the rural population, and then dyed predominantly in indigo blue but occasionally in red or yellow.

For many handcrafts, as well as Blaudruck, industrialization spelled the end of most blue printing workshops and only a handful remained to carry on this craft.


The Process

The color is transferred directly to the fabric surface and appears first as brown. After drying, the material is placed in a developing bath, in which the brown ink changes to a bright blue by a chemical reaction. The fabric is finally boiled, pressed and then ready for use. Printing must be done very carefully, as errors can not be corrected. This craft process is a further development of the original reserve print and is used when a blue pattern is to be created on a white background.

It is a dyeing process, not a printing process as the color is transferred directly to the fabric surface and initially appears brown. After drying, the material is then placed on racks in a developing bath, and a chemical reaction turns the brown ink to a bright blue. Lastly, the fabric is  boiled and pressed before it is ready for use. The fabric is hung on an iron frame in layers and dipped into a deep ‘Färbebottich,’ or vat.

An alternative process can create a similar blue colored fabric using a form of etching using a corrosive substance (etching), which also leads to a white pattern on a blue background.



The ornamental motifs and patterns that are used, in Blueprint textiles, are some of the oldest known patterns used in textile design. Florals, perpetual borders and Christianity motifs were popular themes and clearly an integral part of folk’s lives.

“Blueprint” have been used to decorate such items as tablecloths, pillowcases, curtains, and wall hangings.Even in clothing fashion, it was used as as an element of  ethnic minority from the Lusatian region. Aprons, in particular are printed with different patterns on the front and back

Read more here.

Rosemaling traditional art
Something to Ponder About

Blueprint textile design is something I will be pondering more about.





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