SDA Members In Print: Rita Trefois & “Fascinating Batik”

Introduction from Fascinating Batik (published April 2010)
By Rita Trefois

Thirty-five years of batik practice and thirty years of teaching have led to a serious knowledge about the technique and a huge amount of text material. This provides a good reason to collect all this information in a book.

I spent my childhood in an artistic family and was trained in textile chemistry and decorative arts. These backgrounds of scientific and artistic education brought me to batik in the seventies. The fascinating experience of dyeing fabric became my field of action.

The technical aspect of batik has always been an important element in my creations. Technical skill and free creativity were often in conflict. The exactness of the process frequently clashed with the artistic impulse. This technical fanaticism was evident in my teaching as well. Knowledge about textile materials, dyes and wax components, chromatics and basic batik techniques were key subject matters for workshops and courses. The texts that were written for that purpose are the foundation for this book–a project that was realized at the request of my students.

My passion for batik was also expressed in the International Batik Gathering ‘Now & Then’ in 1999 in Ghent (Belgium). It was a two-week event with exhibitions in five venues, lectures, workshops and a fraternization between artists and sympathizers from all over the world.

Today, at the start of the 21st  century, I notice that with the young generation interest in pure batik tends to decline. Mixed media and experimental techniques are more often used, this in combination with batik from time to time.

The first edition of this book was in Dutch, the language of most of my students. But since I have so many friends and colleagues all over the world, it was obvious that a translation into English would follow. Since I definitely wanted to put the same spirit in this new publication, I felt compelled to translate the Dutch text myself, but with a corrector looking over my shoulder. The result might sound a bit un-English from time to time but I’m convinced that the batik language is an international one without borders.

I would like to see this book as a testimony to a fascinating and prosperous period from a previous era, a manual for beginners and advanced practitioners and a collector’s book for all Batik sympathizers.

Rita Trefois April 2010
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