Esther Traugot: Kintsugi

May 4–June 28, 2018

Esther Traugot, A Patched Egg 4, 2018, goose egg shell, dyed cotton string, wood mount and shelf
6 x 6 x 4 ¾ inches


What’s usual about Esther Traugot’s unique work are the hand-dyed, golden threads and yarns that she crochets as a gilded skin around nature. Ushering in her third solo exhibition at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, it’s what her admirers and collectors have come to expect.

What’s unusual are the intricacies and details of Traugot’s newest creations: the artist’s respectful, careful handling of natural specimens such as an elk antler, deer skeleton, moth, and stones. Traugot’s interventions exalt discarded earthly vessels, once holding precious life, revealing even more remarkable versions of the previous forms. 

Inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi—repairs to broken pottery with distinct, often golden fill—the artist crochets her golden threads in and around natural forms in an act of veneration and rehabilitation. Traugot’s practice of kintsugi recognizes the object’s history and function, crowning it with new life as exquisite art.

Like a cracked vessel rejoined by gold, egg shells are beautifully yoked together by crochet along their cracks and then displayed on a tiny plinth. A crochet-patched tortoise shell becomes reconditioned armor, and velvety moth wings, once used for the insect’s locomotion, now honored with golden trim. Traugot’s diminutive stitches lovingly embrace and soften stacked or touching stones, “highlighting the way the stones rest together.” Elk antlers and an entire deer skeleton are blanketed in stitches, acting as both protection and praise.

-Virginia Tominia, Curator

About the Artist

Esther Traugot lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. She earned her BFA in painting from UC Berkeley and her MFA in studio art at Mills College in Oakland. Traugot has exhibited her work throughout California, and in New York and Pennsylvania, including Sonoma Valley Museum of Art; Palo Alto Art Center; Berkeley Art Center; Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek; Samek Art Museum at Bucknell University, Lewisberg, PA; and Begovich Gallery, Cal State University, Fullerton; and El Paso Museum, TX. Internationally, her work has been exhibited in the Art Paris Art Fair 2014 and in Floriligio in Bogota, Columbia. This is her third solo exhibition at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary.