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Research Laboratory of Blue Table Cloths

Tapestry and Art Textile Museum

Blue Tablecloth Research Laboratory

The Blue Tablecloth Research Laboratory opened in the Tbilisi Apolon Kutateladze State Academy of Arts in 2010, under the guidance of Professors Tinatin Kldiashvili and Ketevan Kavtaradze of the Faculty of Design. The Laboratory restored the Georgian tradition of textile printing, which had been lost in the 20th century. The earliest surviving cloth patterns date from the 16th century and are preserved at the repository of the Georgian National Museum.

The Lab produces printed blue tablecloths, napkins and headwear by applying traditional cold vat dyeing as well as contemporary screen printing methods. Blue tablecloths are manufactured from cotton and silk. Traditional ornamental patterns are applied to the fabric by means of printing blocks of various sizes and forms designed after historical patterns. Tablecloths can be square or rectangular, 220X140 cm to 110X80cm, of “regular” shape or elongated to fit the so-called tablas, low tables. Napkins are of smaller size, 50X50cm.

Blue tablecloths were used by people of all social classes to celebrate special occasions: weddings, feasts after hunting, religious holidays, etc. They used to depict floral and zoomorphic ornaments, as well as symbols of ritual significance, which suggests that apart from their aesthetic value, the cloths used to have an important ritual function and held a special place in Georgian lifestyle for centuries.

The Research Laboratory set up within the Faculty of Design of the Academy of Arts aims to restore and develop one of the traditional branches of Georgian folk culture, textile design, through the involvement of students, which is crucial for preserving the cultural legacy.