Against the Grain
I’ve known Natalie Trujillo since third grade, so Francisco Chronicle and picked up by several
Photograph by Natalie Trujillo
I know a lot about her. Like that time in high school Bay Area galleries, her pieces are now selling as
when she got drunk and threw up in the back seat of far south as Los Angeles, and as far east as Brattle-
Missy Karabian’s brand-new Corvette. boro, Vt. The rings are so well received that she’s
Now she’s all grown up and doesn’t have time now moved on to bracelets and cuff links, tearing
for such nonsense, because she’s too busy in her through wood so fast she makes the most voracious
Oakland, Calif., workshop carving wonderful things colony of carpenter ants look like rogue amateurs.
out of wood. Trujillo makes it look easy. She’ll facet some of
A graduate of California College of the Arts her pieces like the large jewels on cocktail rings,
(“When I went there it was called California College or crown them by taking advantage of a complex
of Arts and Crafts — and I never saw anything wrong and densely textured bark. She delights in a grain’s
with that!” she asserts), Trujillo uses everything subtleties and imperfections, celebrating them with
from fallen branches scavenged from the sidewalk perfect placement among the carving, and creating
during municipal tree trimming (“domestic hard- additional dimension with a rubbing of organic food-
woods,” as she likes to classify them), to exotic ebony grade linseed oil and a rich polish.
nabbed from the scrap piles of fellow woodworkers. So if you’re lookin’ to dress up your digits with one
A whittler from early on, Trujillo carved her first ring of Trujillo’s signature timbered baubles, get in line.
for herself. People noticed, friends made requests, But bypass any desire to make a Natalie Wood joke
and soon after, she took a booth at a craft fair and — and don’t take her for a spin in your new Corvette.
sold out the first day. —Matt Maranian
These days Trujillo’s work is hotter than a California
wildfire with a strong wind: featured in the San
>> For more info: