Hand Block Printing from Aussee

    Ausseerland lies in the heart of the Salzkammergut region, combining harmonious landscape with its scenic lakes, meadows, and mountain massifs. This picturesque beauty is reflected in the colours of Aussee’s traditional costume!

    Altausseer See

    Ausseerland’s fame goes back to an old scandal: in 1829, the son of the Emperor fell in love with the postmaster’s daughter and married her against all opposition. As an act of unity he chose to wear, like his wife, the traditional regional costume known here as “Gewand”.

    Following in his footsteps, all of Austria, led by nobility and high society, discovered and fell in love with this hidden corner of Styria, which includes the communities of Bad Aussee, Altaussee, and Grundlsee. In the tradition of the royal trend-setter, people enjoying an extended stay here like to wear the traditional costume to better embody the spirit of "Sommerfrische," as a prolonged summer stay in the countryside was once called.

    Traditional costume fabrics from the Ausseerland

    Regional costume - a celebration of colour

    Wearing Tracht is also appealing for its bright blend of colours and patterns, which presents flowers against a bright background on the skirt and a contrasting colour for the bodice. You will find at least one additional colour or pattern on the apron, making for a visually striking outfit.

    A colourful shawl may also be added to contrast the plain white blouse. Men's outfits are no less colourful: they wear a Bindl (traditional cravat), brightly decorated Hosenkraxen (braces), and a splendid silk waistcoat. The special splendour of the cloth results from the traditional Aussee hand block printing used to add the colour to the different fabrics: wool, linen, and silk.

    A thriving tradition of block hand printing

    While block hand printing may not be traditionally 'ladylike' work, it was a woman who brought block hand printing to Aussee in 1930. Anna Mautner, widow of the greatest collector of traditional costumes in Ausseerland, was determined to protect the quality of regional costumes from the tasteless merchandise of mass production. This lady of Viennese society built up a collection of old wooden pattern blocks and asked a block printer to teach her the technique. She brought her own artistic flair with her and, thanks to new synthetic dyes, she soon progressed from indigo print to colour print. Her cloths and fabrics perfectly complemented the national costume and soon found acclaim amongst Frau Mautner’s exclusive social circle and throughout Aussee.

    Martina Reischauer eventually took over the business from Anna Mautner. She owns not only the printing blocks from the early days but a collection of Frau Mautner’s patterns. These provide endless inspiration for her work and experimentation – as do her customers’ own imaginations. Each client can create a Dirndl that is completely unique, choosing the pattern and colour of the fabric themselves before it is hand printed for them. Leather and Loden cloth can both be printed and tailored into elegant jackets and skirts. Clients especially appreciate the fine silks, which are made into delicate aprons, shawls, and waistcoats.

    Three more workshops participate in the art of hand block printing in Bad Aussee. Each of them – WachSekyra, Eder, and Mautner – have their own signature: Sepp Wach is the most committed to tradition, Markus Wach at Handdruck Sekyra brings contemporary design and pastel tones to the Alpine theme, and Christiane Eder amazes with her interplay of non-conformity and tradition to create, in her words, a "spiky" result. But still, the fabrics from Mautner printing works under Martina Reischauer continue to draw attention with their classic elegance and brilliant colours.

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