Joseph Koó’s family-owned workshop, Original Blaudruck Koó, is located in Burgenland, south of Vienna and close to the Hungarian border. Founded in 1921 by his grandfather, it is now run by the third generation. Joseph and his wife Miriam apply the designs onto the cloth (mostly linen, cotton, silk and leather) using a dye-resist paste called ‘Papp’ in German, and handcrafted wooden blocks made of either pear or linden wood. The wooden blocks holding particular designs are more than 200 years old.
Joseph specialises in the so-called ‘double prints’, where each fabric has different patterns on the front and the back. These are also made by hand with an inherited perrotine printing press that has been in use since the 1930s.
In the 1950s, when Joseph’s father took over the workshop, the blueprint traditions appeared to be fading. Many workshops were shutting down, as they could no longer compete with production from modern machines that generate synthetic textiles in every conceivable colour and patterns within minutes. Yet, out of hard work and determination, his workshop has managed to survive to this day, set up in the same way as it was built by his grandfather in 1921.