Podcast 58: Ruth Asawa

It’s our final podcast of 2022!

DLS co-founders Florian Duijsens and Katy Derbyshire join producer Susan Stone to toast the holiday season, chat about this year’s good news in Dead Ladies, and to introduce our featured Dead Lady, artist Ruth Asawa. 

Born to Japanese parents on a farm in California, Ruth Asawa first developed her artistic tendencies tracing shapes in the dirt. When her family was interned during World War II by the US government (along with thousands of US citizens with Japanese heritage, following the bombing of US military base Pearl Harbor by the Japanese) her life was put on hold, but she made opportunity where she could find it. When she was prevented from becoming a teacher by anti-Japanese prejudice and laws, she studied art and became a sculptor, often weaving cheap found material and wire. Her public artworks and her art education advocacy made her chosen home city, San Francisco, a more beautiful place, and her sculptures are now auctioned for millions, and exhibited around the world. 

Also available on SpotifyApple PodcastsRadioPublicPocket CastsStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and Acast. You can download the transcript, created by Rachel Pronger, here.

Show notes:

A young Ruth Asawa, front and center with her feet missing

Ruth, Albert, and family

Art and family

First show, San Francisco 1960

More wire art, from above

That mermaid fountain, first of many

Working with children

Working with her son Paul Lanier


Susan recommends the biography Everything She Touched by Marilyn Chase, and the website ruthasawa.com.

For more of Susan Stone’s podcasting prowess, why not try Spatial Delight about geographer Doreen Massey, which is edited by Susan and hosted and produced by 2-time DLS Podcast star Agata Lisiak.

Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon.

What’s your favorite Dead Lady news of the year? Drop us a line info@deadladiesshow.com or tell us on social media @deadladiesshow

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode next month.