Trips I Wish I Had Been On

As I have become the family archivist, I have gotten to virtually experience world travels.  My in-laws visited many countries in the 1980s and 90s, and sometimes their tours included textile centers.  Here are some of the photos they took, that have me wishing I could have been there too.  I have had fun following the photo clues to guess exactly where they were, and I still have the fabric souvenirs!

Asia 1982

In 1982, my in-laws took a huge trip to Asia.  This photo preceded their photos of a batik workshop, and Google Lens has helped me identify it as the Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque in Johor Bahru Malaysia, which is just across the Straits of Johor from Singapore.

Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque in Johor Bahru in Malaysia, photo from 1982.


Block printing, 1982. I think he may be placing wax to resist dye in batik.

Painting with a tjanting.

Shopping at the batik studio.

The beautiful batik that came home.

China 1986

Again, I don’t know their exact itinerary, but this picture from Hong Kong was in the album close to the photos of the silk reeling and of the embroidery workshop.

South Seas Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui area, Hong Kong, 1986

Silk reeling in China, 1986.

Embroidery workshop in China, 1986.

Embroidery workshop.

Machine embroidery.

Hand embroiderer.

Detail of hand embroidery work.

This silk fabric is woven, not embroidered, but it is a souvenir of that trip in 1986.


Ireland 1996

I was able to figure out that my in-laws traveled to the Irish Linen Centre, Lisburn Museum, and it is still open, and has a website!


Spinning flax into linen thread, Ireland, 1996.

Weaving linen.

My father-in-law choosing some linen yarn for me.

Me, back at home, after being given the skein of linen. I was much happier than I look in this picture!

That linen is the one souvenir I no longer have — I wove it into tea towels and gave them to my in-laws, and over the years they did get well used. 🙂