Anyone who’s made their own furniture appreciated the work of Sam Maloof, who died at age 93. Scratch that — anyone who appreciates fine art appreciated his work, although he refused to call himself an artist.

As he said:

Many of my friends call themselves artists…

I guess if you can’t sit on a chair or can’t eat off of a table or can’t use a set of drawers, it’s art. Today I have a lot of friends who hand you a card and it’s artist in wood or everything but being a woodworker, and I don’t consider myself an artist. I never have. I’m a furniture maker, I’m a woodworker, and I think woodworker’s a very good word, and I like the word, it’s an honest word, and that is what I am, a woodworker.

There is one thing that I remember very vividly as I look back over the years: my wife once said to me, “Sam, God has been very good to us.” I hope somehow, in some way, that I have been able to give some of this blessing to others, perhaps in my writing, or in my lectures and workshops. I have tried to do this in the furniture that I have made for so many who have become my friends. So much of me goes into each piece that I make, how good it is, that in making each new piece, a renewal takes place. So it continues: a renewal in my commitment to my work and what I believe.

Too often we who make objects – and I speak of all media – become quite taken with what we have done. We accept all credit, all praise. We become smug and conceited. I believe no man has ever designed anything that approaches the complexity of the simplest flower or the grandeur of a great redwood tree. God is the Creator of all things, and the beauty He has given us is awesome.

There’s a series of videos with him here.