Blaudruck (indigo printing on fabric), © Heimatverein Niedersachsen e.v. Scheeßel, Eike Knopf
© Heimatverein Niedersachsen e.v. Scheeßel, Eike Knopf

Blaudruck (in­digo print­ing on fab­ric)

Linen, cotton and silk printed with beautiful shapes and patterns – and all by hand. Blaudruck is a centuries-old craft which involves printing white fabric with indigo dye. A resistant paste is then applied to prevent the dye penetrating the design in the dye bath later on. A white pattern is left behind on the fabric once it has been removed from the dye bath. The paste is applied using printing blocks known as “Modeln” to produce the desired pattern.

Today Blaudruck has all but died out and is only practised in a small number of workshops. In 2018, UNESCO recognised Blaudruck on its list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity. The award was the result of a joint application from Blaudruck workshops in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. The historical printing method can be experienced first-hand in Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), with Blaudruck workshops in Einbeck, Jever and Scheeßel.