Friday, May 3, 2019

We're All Ears :: May Inspiration :: Wire Forms

I love the Google Doodle. 

I find out the most intriguing things through it. 

The Google Doodle on May 1, 2019 was all about artist Ruth Asawa. She was a prolific Japanese-American artist of the mid-20th century after World War II. She was known for her commitment to art in all forms and especially art education in the San Francisco Bay area. I was most intrigued by her large wire form sculptures.

By Angel2u4now - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Ruth was sent to an internment camp during WWII. But instead of cursing that experience she actually credited that experience for pushing her down the path of art when she met three Disney animators also detained there who taught her how to draw. After that time she attended university in Milwaukee to become an art teacher, until she learned that no school district in Wisconsin would offer her a teaching position. Eventually she ended up at the Black Mountain College near Asheville, NC to study with great artists like Joseph Albers. But a trip to Mexico in 1947 really set her down the path of working with wire using an ancient technique for weaving baskets.

I quite love the forms that she created. The undulating shapes are at once solid and airy. They are also quite sinuous and organic, like giant alien pods or some sort of unknown sea creature. The hidden-in-plain-sight internal forms that are suspended within recall mothers and children and hint at protection and love. The shadows that they cast are mesmerizing. And the fact that she used common materials like copper, brass and steel wire - letting those metal colors shine - transforming them into something spectacular with just her hands and a pair of pliers is incredible.

Although Ruth did a lot of different art forms, I thought that we could use these specific pieces of art for our inspiration. Consider this quote from Ruth Asawa:

“I was interested in it because of the economy of a line, making something in space, enclosing it without blocking it out. It’s still transparent. I realized that if I was going to make these forms, which interlock and interweave, it can only be done with a line because a line can go anywhere.”

 So go forth and find these undulating shapes in your bead stash, play with the shapes evoked, break out your wire and make some statement earrings that honor the life and work of the incomparable Ruth Asawa.

See you on May 17th for the reveal!

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