Internationally known fiber artist and designer Valentina Devine has donated her 10×10 foot wall hanging “Berlin” to the permanent art collection of Los Alamos County. The piece hangs in the Children’s Rotunda at Mesa Public Library.
The piece is very special to Devine because it honors not only her home town, but her special relationship with her longtime friend, Berlin-based fiber artist Horst Schulz, and the many memories of their times together in Berlin. Schulz died in 2017.
“Horst is the brother I never had,” she said.
The saga of “Berlin” began in 2010.
“One of our friends owns a yarn store and often passed on unsold yarn to Horst and I,” Devine said. “This time, she gave Horst a lot of yarn with pompoms and he had no idea what to do with it.”
Devine designed “Berlin” around the yarn and knit the first swatches. During the next five years, Schulz finished the piece. When Schulz passed away, he left “Berlin” to Devine in his will.
Devine displayed the piece in her solo show at Fuller Lodge Art Center, where it was seen by fellow fiber artist Katy Korkos who curates art shows at the Library.
Finding room for such a large piece isn’t easy, but Devine spotted the perfect place in the Children’s Rotunda. The wall hanging had to be installed with a cherry picker!
“Katy zoned in on the piece and then helped me every step of the way,” Devine said.
“Berlin” is composed of 16 identical squares with the mitered corners favored by Schulz in his work. It is a riot of primary colors and interesting textures. Viewers will never look at pompoms the same way after viewing it.
“It wakes people up to the fiber art potential of knitting,” Devine said. “I want to nurture fiber art in public places.”
Devine’s art-to-wear pieces have been featured in a number of books, the latest of which is “Noro Kureyon”. “Kureyon” means crayon in Japanese. Noro Kureyon yarn is beloved by knitters and this collection celebrates its 30th anniversary. Devine’s contribution is called the “fair and square sweater”. She has donated a copy of the book, which was published two weeks ago, to the Library.
Those anxious to see more of Devine’s work can find her at Fuller Lodge May 19-20 during the New Mexico Fiber Crawl. Garments, yarn and copies of the book will be available.
The Fiber Crawl is open to anyone, and with a free 2018 New Mexico Fiber Crawl Passport participants can tour the many local artists’ studios, retail shops, farms, museums and art galleries including Fuller Lodge Art Center in Los Alamos, Yarn Store in Nob Hill in Albuquerque, Tansey Contemporary in Santa Fe, Jemez Artisans Gallery in Jemez Springs, EVFAC in Española, Mooncat Fiber in Taos, just to name a few.
At each Crawl stop, fiber enthusiasts will get their passports stamped, and will have the chance to learn and experience the rich history and culture of New Mexico’s fiber arts. Participants can meet artists, learn a new skill, view demonstrations, and discover up close where textile materials come from and how they are processed.
Passports can be picked up at any site on the New Mexico Fiber Crawl or downloaded at nmfibercrawl.org for free starting May 1. The 2018 New Mexico Fiber Craw will officially kick off Friday, May 18, and passport holders can visit all the numerous sites.
Devine’s work also can be seen at her studio by appointment. She also sells her garments and yarn at the studio. Call 505.662.1440, to schedule a visit.