Saturday, September 20, 2014

Blue-dye aprons

I've got a lot of questions about my beautiful blue apron, so I will tell you about it now.

I fell in love with these aprons this summer when I went to visit my friend, Aniko Vargane Orban, to work on a new book. Look how cute these aprons are! And they are all different, unique art pieces and also part of the rich Hungarian folk art tradition.

So the first day, Aniko picked me up at the railway station and we went for a little walk. She took me to the community market where these beauties were sold. Of course, I couldn't resist!

Aniko Vargane Orban and Tunde Dugantsi
Foto by Balazs Varga

Later, I also found out more about them. They are made in a more than 200 years old Hungarian blue-dye workshop, where the sixth generation of the same family is making them by hand. These are all unique art pieces, all of them have different patterns.

The process of blue-dying:

They start with white linen, that first has to be soaked in hot soapy water to remove all residues from the fabrication. Then they rinse the fabric and hang it to the attic of the workshop to dry.

At the next step they make the patterns. They stamp a special waxy material on the fabric. They have hundreds of old stamps they combine to make their beautiful, unique patterns. Then they pace the fabric into a dye mixture and color it at 185 F. The patterns covered by the waxy material remain white, while the rest of the fabric becomes blue.

After painting, they dilute the waxy layer, rinse the fabric and hang it at the attic again to dry. They have two more steps before the fabric is ready: soaking in starch and drying, then calendering.

Blue-dye apron on little girls

They even make them in kid size, so my little girls, who love to help me in the kitchen, got one too. The adore these aprons (a little too big for them at the moment, but still look gorgeous). 

As the aprons are all different, I had a really hard time to decide which one to choose. I did not even make this hard decision on the spot. I decided to buy a couple and decide later about which one to keep. So I have a few left, after my hard decision was made. They are for sale in my shop.

And before you ask me... Yes, the book we wrote with Aniko is ready and it will be published very soon. More about it in a future post!

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