By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los Alamos Daily Post
“I have always knitted!” fiber artist Valentina Devine said. Devine was born in Russia and grew up in Germany, “I can remember knitting all sorts of things from doll clothes to small garments,” she said.
Devine came to Los Alamos 26 years ago from the Washington, D.C. area, where she became a life-time member of the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Devine sold one-of-a-kind garments as well as wall hangings. She still misses having the company of other artists at the gallery space, but since nothing of the kind was available in Los Alamos, she began selling her work and her hand-dyed yarn out of her home.
Devine will be doing just that this weekend at her “Fabulous Open House and Trunk Show” 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“This is an opportunity for people to visit my studio and see where I work, as well as make purchases,” she said.
In 1999 when the movie “Stepmom” came out, Devine received a lot of attention because actress Julia Roberts wore a Valentina Devine hat in the movie. But that’s not Devine’s only foray into show business. She also knitted two major costumes for the road show of “CATS”; Deuteronomy and Gus, The Theater Cat and the chainmail for the characters in a major Washington, D.C. production of “Macbeth.”
Devine is a tireless advocate for knitting and crochet as a medium for fine art.
“You can really express yourself in fiber art,” she said.
She takes her inspiration more often from painter Paul Klee than from traditional knitwear. The marble floors of Italian churches are another inspiration.
“There’s no end to inspiration,” Devine said. “I wish I had more time!”
Devine is well known in the fiber arts world for her technique of free-form knitting, or knitting without a pattern, getting inspired by colors and textures as you go. Her fabulous wall hangings, like the one hanging in the Los Alamos Justice Center are examples, but so are many of her “art-to-wear” pieces. Although she occasionally publishes patterns in books and magazines, the pieces she sells are original and one-of-a-kind art works.
Devine shares her techniques with knitters all over the country by teaching workshops. “It gives me a lot of satisfaction when people realize they can use yarn as a medium for their art,” she said.
The Trunk Show is a once-a-year opportunity to see where the artist creates her work and get inspired, not to mention, pick up some beautiful hand-dyed yarn or a one-of-a-kind work of art to wear, to give as a special gift or to admire on your wall.
Devine’s studio is at 1222 Big Rock Loop. For information, call 505.662.1440.