Maria Ester Elton
Santiago, Chile

Photographs by Maria Luisa Murillo
Interview and translation by Amelia Errazuriz






Please describe who you are / what you do.
I am Chilena, Grandmother, Mother, Sister, Friend.


What are you working on / interested in / preoccupied with at the moment?
I am and have always been interested in jewelery. I have never been a metal smith but I enjoy designing pieces. I like them chunky and unconventional. I have a jeweler friend that interprets my ideas very well when I want to transform and create new pieces.


Where do you feel most at peace with yourself?
During my daily meditation. In that silence and stillness I am truly present. This has led me on a rewarding path of inner development. I have spent years practicing how to integrate body and mind, to live in harmony and find balance between doing, thinking and feeling.


What is your connection with nature?
I was born and raised in the far south of the world, in this long and narrow piece of land that is Chile. My country resembles an island, surrounded and defined by the extreme forces of nature: the imposing Andes mountain range to the East, the boundless and expansive force of the Pacific Ocean to the West, the vast and arid Atacama Desert to the North and frozen fields of ice to the South. Islanders may reflect their isolation by being shy and withdrawn, or on the contrary, represent the majesty of the mountains and freedom of the sea. I belong to the second category.

I identify with my land. I have a special connection with the mountains and the sea. They have always been, are and will be part of my life. Life has also given me the opportunity to cross these physical barriers and travel across the world expanding my mental horizons, diminishing my prejudgments and connected me with different cultures, traditions and knowledge. I feel very much a part of a wider, global network. I reflect this in the way I am, how I dress, how I combine shapes and colors. I have no fixed ideas and mix things up without reservations.





Ester wears a Diamond Kimono in small.
What nourishes you?
These days, books. Since the death of Dr. Claudio Naranjo, I find myself revisiting his work. He was a master in the field of personal development with whom I had the opportunity to study with. I did a personality study using the Enneagram and it is fascinating to read his writings again.


How would you define your style? What is ‘fashion’ for you?
My style comes very natural to me. I don’t overthink it and always prioritize comfort. Most of my clothes are over sized and neutral in colors, where everything can be mixed and combined. I don’t follow trends or designers, just try to buy pieces that speak to myself.


How did you discover Milena’s work?
I discovered it in LA, California. Milena was participating at Echo Park Craft Fair where my son Sebastian was also taking part with his ceramic pipes (Miwak Junior). His wife Alice sent me pictures of Milena’s work, and I was immediately fascinated by her coats. I think it took me three years to actually buy one! It was all done long distance, over phone messages,  with photos of Alice modeling different garments.