Blue-dyeing (kekfestes) is a centuries-old tradition in Hungary, however, only six blue-dying workshops still operate in the country. One of the most well-known of these is that of the Kovacs family, who have been passing down the craft from parents to children since 1878.
The Kovacs family
started their career in Kecskemet
(100 km south-east of Budapest), then moved further south, to Kiskunfelegyhaza, but in 1926 they finally settled just east of Kecskemet, at Tiszakecske
, where their shop still operates with century-old equipment and wooden motif blocks
. Miklos Kovacs, a Master of Folk Art (Nepmuveszet Mestere
) and his family create beautiful blue textiles with a resist-dyeing method
where the white fabric is first printed with a resist paste, using wooden motif blocks or sometimes a block-printing machine. The fabric is then immersed in an indanthrene solution
that works much faster than the original indigo dye. The printed areas resist the dye and come out white, resulting in a delicately patterned blue fabric
While traditionally the fabric was sold and then people made their own clothing and household items, there seems to be an increasing need for ready-made blue-dyed dresses, blouses, skirts, aprons, as well as tablecloths, spreads, dish-towels, etc. The Kovacs family meets this need with a charming shop in Szentendre
, which is not only a business and a tourist attraction, but also a monument to traditional blue dyeing.
Bogdanyi u. 36
Kovacs Family Home Page
-- English, German, Hungarian
Blue-dyed fabric shop online: Folkology
-- English, French