Karl and Maria Wagner’s family business, Blaudruckerei Wagner, is located in the Mühlviertel region of Upper Austria at the border to the Czech Republic. Established in 1878, it is currently being run by the fourth generation.
Wagner’s collection of up to 250-year-old handmade wooden blocks and patterns presents a unique and extensive variety of local designs. To this day, the Wagner family applies these designs to regionally produced linen. Their work is still partly based on the travelling book written by Karl Wagner Senior, from his journeyman years in Europe dated from 1869 to 1878. The Wagner family not only renovated and restored their original blocks and engraved new blocks to experiment with innovative patterns, but also revitalized the almost forgotten and elaborate technique of two-tone blueprinting. Two-tone blueprints are dyed with both a lighter and a darker indigo shade.
Back in 1832, there were seventeen dyeing workshops in this area, some of which also did blueprinting. Today, the Wagner family is the only one preserving the blueprinting technique in Upper Austria. Wagner Blueprint was formerly known as ‘Schwarzfärber‘, meaning that they belonged to the guild of ‘black dyers‘ and dyed dark colours. This was different to the ‘Schönfärber‘, who dyed bright colours and enjoyed a higher reputation. The German word ‘schön‘ can be translated as beautiful or nice.