The Fountain Lady
Ruth Asawa is an artist whose talents first started to blossom while in an interment camp during World War II. Her drawing skills were noticed and encouraged by her teachers, and is what helped her move towards the arts after she graduated high school.
Later she studied at Black Mountain College under Josef Alber and Buckminster Fuller. There she worked with everyday objects under Alber. After travels to Mexico, and studying their technique for crocheting baskets, she began to create her beautiful wire sculptures that she is known for today.
Ruth was active in the art world by teaching, volunteering, and lobbying for arts education. True to her form she involved 200 students in her fountain sculpture that was to be in Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco. The children molded images from San Francisco, that she then cast in iron and used around the mermaid in the middle. After that she went on to creating several fountains, and became known as the San Francisco “Fountain Lady”.
In the 1950’s Ruth was getting notice, but her pieces were often dismissed as women’s craftwork. The De Younge Museum was an exception and hung 15 pieces of hers in their museum. In 2013 Christie’s sold one of her sculptures for 1.4 million dollars, solidifying her work and it’s place in the art world. Today her work is admired and loved by many.