Saturday, November 9, 2013

2013 Open European Quilt Championship winners (Theme: Berlin)

The theme of this year's Open European Quilt Championships was "Berlin". One of Europe's most inspiring cities, Berlin also wears the scars of history. You may remember that the Berlin Wall separated East and West Berlin from 1961 to 1989.  On November 9, 1989, the wall began to fall. Since today is November 9, 2013, we wanted to show quilts that won awards for the theme: Berlin.

A Leap to Freedom by Esther de Visser (Capelle a/d Ijsel, The Netherlands) (Trophy for the theme Berlin, 2013 OEQC)

In the quilt, East German soldier Conrad Schumann is shown in his famous leap to freedom over a section of barbed wire (the original photo can be seen here).  Additional running figures, and their footsteps, can be seen in the background on the right hand side of the quilt.  Esther's solemn and stirring work is all hand pieced and machine quilted.

Close up, A Leap to Freedom by Esther de Visser

Esther notes, "[This quilt commemorates] crossing the Berlin Wall, taking a leap to freedom. This quilt is in honor of those who had the courage to escape the East German regime in search for freedom and in memory of those who lost their lives trying to escape." Their names were printed on the left hand side of the quilt as shown above.

Over de Muur by Elly Prins (Zoetermeer, The Netherlands)(Trophy: Longarm Quilting, 2013 OEQC)

Elly made this fascinating longarm quilted piece in remembrance of her first trip to Berlin in 1989, just before the wall came down. She has attached an actual chunk of stone of the Wall in the lower left corner of the quilt. The quilt brings to life the Berlin Wall graffiti art; see the original photo at Wikipedia.

Close up, Over de Muur by Elly Prins

The graffiti on the wall is depicted with intricate and vivid longarm thread quilting, and the little street lamp actually glows (for information on the technique, see the footnote*).  The quilt title, "Over de Muur" (Over the Wall) refers to a 1984 song by the Dutch pop band Klein Orkest, which tells of birds flying from East to West (because they want to be sometimes in the East, and sometimes in the West).  You might enjoy seeing this YouTube video of Over de Muur (you'll be glad you did !)

Autumn in Berlin by Annelies Ghyselen (Nazareth, Belgium) (Quiltmania Special Award, Judge's Choice, 2013 OEQC)

Annalies writes, "Photos taken during my stay in Berlin in October 2012 have inspired me. The architecture caught my special attention. Berlin is a never-ending story since die Wende"  (the change, or turning from the Socialist Unity Party and a centrally planned economy to parliamentary democracy and a free market economy in East Germany around the years 1989-1990). "The city is constantly in evolution. I try to depict the atmosphere of a modern city where memories are kept alive."

Close up, Autumn in Berlin by Annelies Ghyselen 

Annalies has set this intriguing spiral staircase amongst a series curved motifs done in high contrast colors, which creates a fascinating center medallion. Street names are also shown on this intricate and beautiful quilt.

Unter den Linden by Albertje Vording (Emmen, The Netherlands) (Second Place, Advanced Quilts, 2013 OEQC)

"Unter den Linden" (Under the Linden Trees)  is a famous wide boulevard in Berlin landscaped with these lovely trees. Albertje says, ["This] fabric is dyed and stamped. Green is for the park, blue for the sky, and orange for the warmth of the people." 

Close up, Unter den Linden by Albertje Vording

Albertje notes, "The beads (upper left and in the center)  represent the numerous people that visit Berlin."  In this close-up, you can see some of the intricate coloring of the dyed and stamped fabric, which is alternately covered with netting, quilted and beaded.

The Berlin Bear by Marjan van der Heijden (Eindhoven, The Netherlands)(People's Choice Award, 2013 OEQC)

Marjan notes, "The bear is the symbol of Berlin. Throughout the city, you find colorful paintings and mosaics of the bear.  I made my bear completely with leftovers (scraps). "

Close- up, The Berlin Bear by Marjan van der Heijden

In medieval times, bears roamed the woods surrounding the city, which is apparently why the people of the Berlin decided to adopt the bear motif as their mascot. Marjan's vibrant, eye-catching work is all hand-pieced and hand-quilted with big stitches.

*Footnote: Conductive thread connects a tiny LED light - which comes in several colors -  to a small battery.  It allows users to add one or more LED lights to their fabric art or wearable clothing. For more information visit Superior Threads.

Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2013 Houston International Quilt Festival.


  1. Estos quilts son espectaculares y me asombran. El otoño en Berlin es mi favorito. Gracias por las fotos y feliz fin de semana!!

  2. These are incredible and the first one is so touching. Thank you for sharing them.


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