Inspiration from SE Asia (Part 2 – Malaysia)

Countdown to Grand Give Away 2016 – 3 weeks. We are now down to just a few weeks. Don’t miss the chance to win this colourful 3-D quilt. Anyone who subscribes to this blog is eligible to win.

Anne's Garden

Anne’s Garden


The theme for the One Million Mile Quilted Postcard Challenge in May is “Quilt Industry Appreciation Month”. Think about all the leaders in YOUR quilting world. Why not thank them with a quilted postcard? Let them know they are part of the 1 Million Mile Challenge and tell them why. I will reveal my cards the last Wednesday in May. If you send me a picture of the cards you make, I will include them in the June post. Themes and miles from previous months are available on the Postcard tab.

The month of April found us in Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. Three countries. Three very different cultures. Of course it was only natural to look for anything related to fabric, quilting or art. And they didn’t disappoint. I came away with inspiration. With fabric. With tools. I am convinced that ideas from this trip will surface in my work in the years to come. In order to keep the length of posts manageable and to do each country justice, I will talk about each country separably. Last week I talked about Vietnam; today’s post will focus on Penang, Malaysia.

The city of Georgetown in the island province of Penang, Malaysia is a cultural UNESCO heritage site. And with good reason.The Pearl of the Orient. Of all the places we visited, the street art in Georgetown captured my attention in ways no other place did.

Let’s start with the art we stumbled upon. Literally. One sidewalk led to another. And then another. And then more. These sidewalks are not listed in the tourist pamphlets like the rest of the street art is. These sidewalks are just there, like they have been for a hundred years. They reflect the art of the Peranakan – a distinct culture that is a blend of the Chinese, Malays, and Europeans. Here is a small sample…

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The day we spent wandering around taking pictures was +38C. Most quilt blocks are put together to keep the body warm. These keep the feet cool. Don’t you just love how all the details are worked out? Corners, additions and borders are all intricately planned. My plan was to reproduce one of the patterns into an actual quilt and even worked out the pattern. Then I realized there would be 240 pieces of fabric in each 12″ block. I might want to rethink that plan. But somewhere, sometime, pieces of Penang will show up on one of my quilts.

Next – the Street Art Penang is well known for:

There are more than 40 of these mural/wrought iron/real article combinations scattered throughout Georgetown. We saw many of them from the back seat of a tour bus but did not have time or energy (remember, it was 38C!) to locate them all on foot. What I loved about them was the playful nature in which they depicted historical culture. This art may not end up on a quilt, but I am already thinking of ways to incorporate the 3-D effect on to my postcards in the future.

Last, but certainly not least, was our tour stop at a batik factory.

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In the first picture a gentleman is stamping fabric with hot gold-coloured wax. His actions are fast and repetitive, twisting and turning the stamp different directions in order to make symmetrical designs. We were told it takes considerable time to develop this skill.

The second and third pictures show ‘adult colouring’ at a whole new level. The stamped fabric has been stapled to frames and these women are painting between the lines. In this case they are painting fabric that will end up as uniforms. Once the painting is done and dried, the fabric will be boiled in order to remove the wax.

So did I buy any fabric? Of course, you know that I did. IMG_2650Not that there was much selection. Most of the items in their ‘store’ were already finished, but they did have packages of 6 x 1 meter cuts of fabric. Here are my 6 pieces. How do you think it would work for a Peranakan tile pattern? I’ll let you know if it ever gets made.

On the other hand, for an additional $25 I could have bought a quilt that was already made, at a downtown market stall. IMG_2669Some things are the same world over. When it comes to fabric, the final product never reflects the time, skill or cost required to produce the item.


Thanks for visiting my site. Since next week is the last Wednesday in May, we will take a break from our series “Inspirations from SE Asia” in order to do the May postcard reveal. The write-up on Singapore will be done June 1st. Have a great creative week.

About Judy's Quilting Studio

Creator of all things quilted; minimalist in everything except fabric!
This entry was posted in 2016, travels, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Inspiration from SE Asia (Part 2 – Malaysia)

  1. Marnie Houston says:

    I absolutely loved all the tiles on the sidewalk, what a treat to come upon that during your touring. I agree one day one of them must be made into a quilt. But perhaps using 6″ blocks will help keep everything smaller to fit on your standard quilt size. I also loved the fabric you bought there. A real treat for sure, who knows it just might find it’s way into the Peranakan sidewalk quilt. Looking forward to the May postcard reveal.

  2. Wai Pheng says:

    What an adventure for you guys! I can’t wait to see your creations with the batik fabric.

  3. Laurel says:

    The murals are fascinating, especially those that are multi-media. Your description of the batik process is wonderfully detailed and easy to understand… it’s like I was there beside you. Gorgeous fabrics! Can’t wait to see what you do with them…

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