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Blue Innovations: contemporary Czech indigo prints at London Craft Week

Posted in Events & exhibitions: ‘What’s on’, Heritage crafts and Textiles & needlework.

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The Blue Innovations exhibition, part of London Craft Week, showcases the work of contemporary Czech designers who create exceptional, high quality hand-made items using traditional indigo printing techniques for decorating fabrics. The exhibition runs 25 April - 14 June 2019, Monday – Friday 10am – 6 pm

It will also introduce these techniques, which have been integral to Czech culture for centuries and are now on UNESCO‘s lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage, including a Czech indigo printing workshop held on 11th & 12th May by Blue Innovations' curator Alice Klouzková.

We spoke to Alice Klouzková about the significance of the exhibition...

Contemporary Czech indigo printing

 

 

Workshop Olešnice
Photo: Tomáš Brabec 

 

 

Indigo print in the Czech Republic has undergone extensive development, from a luxury fabric for the highest classes, through mass production and subsequent integration into folk costumes. Indigo print experienced its greatest boom in the 19thcentury when there was an indigo print workshop in practically every town.

The industry began to diminish from the beginning of the 20thcentury and the number of workshops gradually fell. There are currently only two indigo block printing workshops in operation in the Czech Republic, which means that the ordinary consumer usually only has access to indigo print in the form of small souvenirs or as part of the costumes of folklore ensembles.

In the eyes of most of the people it represents something archaic and unusable in today's life. However, combination of traditional indigo block printing and contemporary design is not precluded. Classic indigo block printed fabrics can be used in a modern and contemporary manner, if a designer who is capable of creatively using traditional knowledge, takes on work with them.

 

 

 

The purpose of the Blue Innovations exhibition is to present contemporary indigo block printing production, which focuses on emphasising a unique and creative approach to this traditional technique.

Alice Klouzková, Curator of the Exhibition

Blue Innovations

 

A number of Czech designers, who prefer high-quality hand made products, craftsmanship and originality, follow onto indigo print tradition. I invited several of the most distinguished figures and projects to take part in this exhibition. Visitors will also be provided with information about the two traditional indigo block printing workshops, which are still in operation in the Czech Republic.

 

Blue Innovations, design: Alice Klouzková
Photo: Tomáš Brabec 

 

Blue Innovations, Textile
Photo: Peter Fabo

 

 

Blue Innovations, design: Alice Klouzková
Photo: Tomáš Brabec

 

Traditional indigo print retains a lot of potential and many variations of the way we use it in contemporary fashion, which I would like to show practically at my workshop, which will be part of the exhibition. I will introduce the participants to the indigo print materials, reveal the secrets of the indigo print production process to them, and explain how to recognise the true indigo print.

Everyone will also be able to make simple fashion accessories such as fancy flower or bow tie. I look forward to seeing you all there!

 

If you are interested in learning more about indigo printing, you can find dyeing and printing workshops around the UK on CraftCourses.com.

 

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