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Princeton Architectural Press

A Life Made by Hand

A Life Made by Hand

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"I was struck by how beautifully D'Aquino's renderings capture the spirit of Asawa's work." —The New York Times Book Review

"Through this picture-book contribution, not only will Asawa's art reach a new audience, but her artistic practice will inspire the next generation of creative minds to express themselves with handmade art. A worthwhile addition to picture-book collections everywhere." —Booklist



Ruth Asawa (1926-2013) was an influential and award-winning Japanese American sculptor and devoted activist who advocated tirelessly for arts education. A Life Made by Hand tells the story of this pioneering artist whose work is collected in major museums around the world.

Inspired by the world around her, Asawa saw beauty in the ordinary: the webs of spiders, wings of insects, and drops of water found in the garden on the farm where she spent her childhood. She studied at the historic Black Mountain College, an unusual school filled with brilliant thinkers like herself. “An artist,” she said, “is an ordinary person who can take ordinary things and make them special.”

Andrea D’Aquino’s lush collages and engaging text celebrate Asawa’s remarkable career, and collectively tell a story that will appeal to young readers and art lovers, and inspire them to, just as Ruth Asawa did, look closely at the world and create art with whatever is at hand. 

Includes an activity for making a paper dragonfly and a page of teaching tools for parents and educators.

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