The blueprint exhibition in ÚĽUV Gallery


Exhibition of contemporary blueprint in Slovakia.  10 December 2009 - 27 February 2010, ÚĽUV Gallery, Obchodná 64, Bratislava.

The blueprint

ÚĽUV – The Centre for Folk Art Production Bratislava
Slovak National Museum in Martin

Curator of exhibition:
Daša Ferklová

In Slovakia, blueprint became popular in the early 19th century. However, the first evidence documenting the existence of it is of an earlier date. Fabric dyeing developed together with the production and processing of yarn which, in addition, had been related to the popular flax and hemp growing and sheep farming. In the late 18th century, fabric dyeing was absorbed by the mass production of textile. Originally, blueprint was used for clothes worn by urban middle class people. Later, when blueprint was replaced by manufacture and factory cotton-prints, blueprint makers started to concentrate their production on rural areas. Blueprint having been used on folk clothes and interiors popularised the blueprint craft. At the end of the 19th century and in the early 20th century, distinctive regional specifics of blueprint patterns, colours intensity, multicolour prints and surface finishing of fabrics developed in Slovakia. Fabric dyeing as a craft survived until the mid 20th century in our territory, mainly in the regions where dyed fabrics and blueprint were part of clothes and interior items.

A linear pattern, particularly geometric composition of endless pattern, is used in the traditional blueprint fabric. Rhythmical repeating of the shape and colour of the same element is a distinctive feature of the blueprint fabric. Patterns made by large wooden moulds that were the oldest ones and were used in folk dyeing mainly for dyeing of bedclothes, aprons and scarves possess the most valuable artistic quality. We have evidence of the 18th century wooden moulds that used predominantly animal, figurative and landscape motives arranged into the geometric composition. Latter, moulds were used to make bedclothes. In the early 19th century, geometric ornaments, mainly strips on skirts and aprons, became popular in the rural areas. As for geometric patterns, squares were often used on bedclothes.

Later, under the influence of industrial fabrics, brass plates and nails were added to the cutwork on wooden moulds. Geometric and floral patterns and combinations thereof dominated the plates on moulds. Patterns were arranged into horizontal and vertical lines.

The exhibition of the work of last blueprint master Stanislav Trnka from the town of Púchov presents the contemporary appearance of this unique phenomenon. He works in a workshop his grandfather Jozef Trnka opened for blueprint fabrics making 110 years ago. He started to make blueprint items in 1899. He made blueprint fabrics for the neighbouring villages of the Púchov region. In 1939, sons took over the craft after their father. Eldest son Alojz run the workshop until 1951. Stanislav Trnka is the only one of three Alojz´s sons who maintains the family blueprint making tradition. He and his wife Helena make blueprint products according to the “recipes” of their ancestors. The workshop in Púchov absorbed the range of products of several workshops that had become extinct and supplied the regions with people that wore blueprint clothes. After 1972, S. Trnka has started the cooperation with the ÚĽUV in Bratislava. As a result, new collections of blueprint textiles in various innovated and modified versions which are used in the modern interiors and fashion design collections.

ÚĽUV Gallery
Obchodná 64, Bratislava
Opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday 12.00 – 18.00
Saturday 10.00 – 14.00
free entrance

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