Against the Grain: Natalie Trujillo
A graduate of California College of the Arts (When I went there it was called California College of Arts and Crafts and I never saw anything wrong with that! she asserts), Trujillo uses everything from fallen branches scavenged from the sidewalk during municipal tree trimming (domestic hardwoods, as she likes to classify them), to exotic ebony nabbed from the scrap piles of fellow woodworkers.
A whittler from early on, Trujillo carved her first ring for herself. People noticed, friends made requests, and soon after, she took a booth at an Oakland craft fair and sold out the first day. These days Trujillos work is hotter than a California wildfire with a strong wind: featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and picked up by several Bay Area galleries, her pieces are now selling as far south as Los Angeles, and as far east as Brattleboro, Vt. The rings are so well-received that shes now moved on to bracelets and cuff links, tearing through wood so fast she makes the most voracious colony of carpenter ants look like rogue amateurs.
But dont try this at home unless you want to feel like a loser; Trujillo makes it look easy. Shell facet some of her pieces like the large jewels on cocktail rings, or crown them by taking advantage of a complex and densely textured bark. She delights in a grains subtleties and imperfections, celebrating them with perfect placement among the carving, and by creating additional dimension with a rubbing of organic food-grade linseed oil and a rich polish.
So if youre lookin to dress up your digits with one of Trujillos signature timbered baubles, get in line. But bypass any desire to make a Natalie Wood joke and dont take her for a spin in your new Corvette.Matt Maranian
For info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography by Matt Maranian