Ann, Susan and I sat in the front row as Aiko Cuneo, Ruth Asawa's daughter, demonstrated her mother's technique. Here, she shows how her mother taped her fingers to help save her skin. Even with the tape, her fingers were often beat up from working so many hours with the metal. The sample wire pieces in on the table were made by Aiko and one of her nieces.
Aiko explained that her mother used only wire, a dowel and her fingers. The wire cutters and pliers were used only to begin and end a piece. The crochet hook that I noticed in one of the pictures is used only when repairing pieces.
Aiko said that we could take pictures, but she asked that we do not post a step by step tutorial of her mother's technique on the internet. We practiced with 22 gauge copper wire wrapped around a 1/2" dowel today. Here is my piece in progress. The final result, when I ran out of wire, is at the top of this entry.
Aiko said that she didn't really pay attention to her mother's technique when she was young; Ruth usually worked late into the night after putting her six kids to bed. Her mother didn't sleep much.
Balancing the wire pieces is the most difficult part of the construction process. Aiko says her mother would not allow her unbalanced pieces to be shown. However, a great number of them exist. ;-) It took great patience and thought to build up her forms. After learning how she did it, I am in awe.
This workshop was great fun. I hope this is the first of many experiments.
Link: Mommy Art (and Science)