As a young college grad, I traveled around Europe with two girlfriends and we made the trek to West Berlin. The Cold War was still in in full throttle and the Berlin Wall divided the city. I remember our Berlin visit vividly: climbing the perches alongside the Wall and viewing the coiled barbed wire and no-mans-land; seeing an East German officer on the other side simultaneously looking back at us through raised binoculars; walking by the famous Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate on the other side of the wall; and the nighttime return train trip through darkened East Germany – floodlights flashing underneath the train to watch for possible escapees trying to ride the underbelly of the train to the West. Watching “The Wall” come down in 1989 was a joy to behold. I’ve always wanted to return.
Two years ago our family had the opportunity to visit Prague and were able to make a side trip to Berlin. I was spellbound by what has happened since reunification – such a vibrant city, in touch with its past and building towards the future. One of the places to which I returned was the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. The original church was damaged in a 1943 bombing, and the spire has been left unfinished as a WWII memorial. The church has a beautiful stained glass window that captivated me with the large expanse of cobalt blue contemporary stained glass. The glass, designed by Gabriel Loire, was inspired by the colors of the glass in Chartres Cathedral.
Since that trip I’ve wanted to create a stained glass quilt inspired by Berlin. I started by creating this pillow using stack and slash techniques while piecing it together with sashing that was just under 3/4″. While I had always intended on making a bed sized quilt, this was a more time consuming process that I’d planned! I think I’ll stop at this creation for now. I’m very pleased at how it came out and love that both sides retain a modern feel.