A Life Made By Hand
Fascinated by a snail’s shell, gossamer dragonfly wings, and a spider’s complex web, Ruth Asawa carefully observed tiny details around her family farm, her hands constantly busy with found objects such as wire and paper. Simple, straightforward text tells how she drew inspiration from Japanese calligraphy, dancers who bent their bodies into shapes, and craftsmen in Mexico who twisted wire baskets. With this last, Ruth had found her medium and her lifelong obsession. Her own wire structures became graceful, weightless works of art, looped structures that invited others to look closely and imagine what they see, providing inspiration to future young artists. Charcoal-and–colored-pencil drawings combine with hand-painted and monoprinted paper in a striking collage representation of Asawa’s work. D’Aquino provides close-ups of the snail and dragonfly, a landscape layout of basket craftsmen, and a geometric kaleidoscope of squares layered upon squares, offering a variety of perspectives and media. An author’s note explains her inspiration for the book and offers sobering facts about the Asawa family’s internment in various camps—facts that are omitted from the story proper. Additional resources enable young artists to discover this artist’s work for themselves and offer step-by-step instructions to create a folded paper dragonfly.This distinctive biography brims with artistic vision as it informs about a signature sculptor.