rita kok

(hoogezand, nl, 1939)

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irène steinert wrote in 2007:

rita’s work is the result of a creative and intuitive way on the lookout for the action of colours and materials in the micro cosmos between warp and weft.

so we, the spectators, get a new view of the unforeseen properties and interaction of threads, fibres and and bars.

the way the work is hanged or placed, influences the special effect.

she senses the light effects.

elements of one work may form various compositions by placing them in different ways.

time and space seem to be qualifying elements as well in designing the work.

rita started to weave dress fabric materials on demand.

then followed a period of making tapestries, which could be used as carpets as well as wall hangings.

this double function requires proper criteria.

not all designs lend themselves to be walked across or around.

a carpet has to be interesting from all sides.

for this reason rita started to explore abstract designs, geometrically derived from reckoners for different weaves.

she has a preference for the linen weave, well known from children braiding mats and our bed sheets.

nevertheless, her designs follow the rhythm of the satin weave.


these designs, the result of ‘playing’ with these calculated schemas, also became the inspirational source for the goblets for cor unum ceramics & art and the colour pattern on the tea-towels for the textile museum in tilburg (nl).

weaving multi coloured shawls with silk, wool and chenille was a period of research for the effects of colour and material.

wool will absorb colours in contrast with cotton and silk, which reflect the colours.

she didn’t use linen for the shawls, because it is lacking in natural elasticity that makes it difficult to combine with other threads.

linen has ‘a body’ by itself caused by natural glue.

but when experimenting, she became fascinated by linen.

now she uses linen to encircle other materials, which enforced their contrast.

the warp threads became more and more important to her.

she feels as if the weft undooes the ‘waterfall’ of warp threads.

so she tried and continues trying to create more and more space between warp and weft.

a ‘weave’ needs to rest as well.

the vacuum between the threads and the fragility of colours bring harmony in the composition and enforce the action of the materials.

bright colours appeal to her.

choices have to be made conditional upon the draft.

one-way is to put down the first intuitive selection on a white tray and to look at the light effect in different places in the house.

the incidence of light changes during the day influencing the timbre of colours.

in artificial light it may be otherwise.

the final choice has to be made on the loom.

in 1999 rita visited the women of the ndebele tribe in bronkhorstspruit in south africa.

the women paint their houses, clothes, beads and earthenware with abstract figures in ochre, indigo, turquoise, green, violet and grey tints.

the harmony they use in colours touched and influenced het later work.

the creating process is an evolution inside the person: exploring new materials, playing with colours, varying weaving techniques.

free work is investigating emotions, following one’s inner life.

new work is exposed in the atelier or living room to let time, space, light and sentiments act so it may grow and find it’s form.

the process of designing works out differently each time.

the purpose influences the technique looked for.

preparing an exposition demands taking account of the surroundings.

exhibiting with other artist, the character of the work has to be tuned in with theirs.

if it involves a commission, the design of the place for which the work is intended influences her inspiration.

viewed from a certain distance, the sober compositions of threads, colour and form seem to be suspended in space.

nearby the micro cosmos of weaves and woven threads offers a lively spectacle.

all the materials, like actors, have their peculiar character: the gloss and the colours of the linen, the transparency of the fishing line and perspex, the unruliness of the guitar strings and the horsehair.

it looks as if they are dancing on the rhythm of the design.

henk van os wrote in 2003:

a good 25 years ago rita kok read an article on spinning in a lady’s magazine.

along with the ‘green wave’ that flooded across our country then, the interest in natural materials and crafts returned.

everywhere people started spinning and weaving.

macramé, painting with botanical materials, quilting and the art of appliqué became all the rage.

it was then that rita discovered weaving and she pursued it, even when all sorts of other trends came into fashion.

in weaving she has developed an artist’s personality that is entirely her own.

the fashion of te time led to many sloppy, messy and frayed products of art, which very often provoked ridicule from the culture-critics.

they called them symtoms of a ‘sock of goat’s wool’-subculture, that had to be done away with the sooner the better.

but rita’s work was an entirely personal straightforwardness, even at the time.

at the loom she started dividing the space and deciding upon colours.

it takes strong personality to differ from something that is the fashion of the day and to go one’s own way consistently.

in the end it has led to the subtle and tender works that she now produces.

‘simplicity is the hallmark of true authenticity’.

if this applies to art, then it certainly applies to the work of rita kok.

(professor dr. h.w. (henk) van os was general director of the rijksmuseum amsterdam from 1989 to 1996 and was among others, professor of art and  cultural history at the university of groningen (nl) , professor of art and society at the university of amsterdam (nl) and television presenter of art programs).

rita kok

born in 1939 in hoogezand (nl)

lives and works in amsterdam (n)


coupeuse training at the rotterdamse snijschool (rotterdam cutting school)

detailhandelstextiel (retail textiles)


first exhibition in 2001 japan in kyoto and nagasaki

then solo and group exhibitions in the netherlands on many locations included:

amstelveen, amsterdam, arnhem, bathmen, beetsterzwaag, bilthoven, boxmeer, epe, gorinchem, groningen, hollum, leeuwarden, leiden, lisse, overveen, wassenaar, zaandijk

amstelveen, amsterdam, de bilt, lisse

in switzerland in geneva in palais des nations in 2003

gallery 9 presents the works of rita kok since 2018:

2022 spring exhibition in the gallery

2021 duo exhibition with anjeliek blaauw in the gallery

2021 summer exhibition in the gallery

2021 spring exhibition in the gallery

2020 summer exhibition in the gallery

2019 winter exhibition in the gallery

2018 duo exhibition with dinieks in the gallery

art fairs

works of rita kok has been presented at various art fairs

art routes

2012 route 10/66 door stadsdeel nieuw west amsterdam en dutch design hotel artemis

2015 kunstmaand ameland ‘zee van licht’


work of rita kok is included in private collections, company collections and museum collections


overview exhibitions in van der togt museum (since 1-1-2020: museum jan), amstelveen (nl) in 2002 and 2013

design of a tea towel for dutch textile museum in tilburg (nl)


rita kok made many works in commission, amongst others for maarten hartveldt (composer and producer), chapelstudio, tilburg (nl)

awards and nominations

jury award kyoto 16th art festival, jp, 2002


verfijnde weefsels rita kok schitteren tijden kunstmaand: stormachtige liefde op het eerste gezicht

tekst: jolanda de kruyf

foto’s: jantina scheltema, niels helmink

in: ameland in zicht, nr. 3, 2015, p. 64-67

rita kok, een bijzondere weefkunstenares: subtiel en krachtig, streng en zacht

tekst: irene van der horst

in: handwerken zonder grenzen, nr 147, juni-juli 2008, p. 48-51

rita kok: weefwerken tot 2007: een selectie

foto’s: frans van ameijden, onno boermeester, paul enneking, nies helmink, erwin olaf, helen joyce paanen, ron zijlstra

tekst: irène steinert

correctie engelse tekst: bernard pierre west

amsterdam, weiw publishers stralsund, 2007

isbn 978-90-807472-8-9 (nl)

isbn 978-3-937938-12-7 (d)

de subtiele weefkunst van rita kok: wat doen kleuren in de schemering?

tekst: anne van de burgt

foto’s: ank neumann

in: midi, nr. 12, 2003, p. 64-67

in gesprek met rita kok

door: linda hanssen

in: textiel plus, nr. 173, september 2000, p. 8-9