cover image A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa

A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa

Andrea D’Aquino. Princeton Architectural Press, $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-61689-836-6

This introduction to the life of the Japanese-American artist Ruth Asawa (1926–2013) follows her early life growing up on a farm, her time at the legendary Black Mountain College, and the trip to Mexico where she learned to weave with wire. Colorful textural collage illustrations convey the way her creative practice was informed by the world around her (“She loved to draw forms in the dirt with her bare feet”). They are less successful in conveying the magic of her mesmerizing sculptural creations, though a small photo in the supplemental materials gives readers a glimpse of Asawa’s work. These materials also offer context on Japanese-American internment—something Asawa experienced but which was left out of the narrative at the request of her estate. Instructions for a paper dragonfly close the book, encouraging readers to emulate this teacher, who “knew that the best way to learn is to use your hands.” Ages 5–8. (Sept.)