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Sam Maloof's legacy portrayed in a wonderful book by Fred Setterberg


"36 Views of a Master Woodworker"

Written by Fred Setterberg

Sam Maloof - The Culture News

REVIEW: Mr. Setterberg brings a wonderful book full of information regarding the life of Mr. Maloof who has changed forever (and for the better) the life of woodwork. Wonderful pictures and unique documents are featured in this classy and elegant book. Important testimonials from Mr. Maloof's friends, colleagues, and family are included. Mr. Setterberg brings all of the above with style and poetry in tribute to an artist who has himself brought poetry into wood. This is a must-have book for anyone who loves beauty and wants to touch it.

The first craftsman to receive a MacArthur Foundation genius grant, a man whom his friend and fellow furniture maker Jimmy Carter called the best woodworker that ever lived, Sam Maloof was one of the great masters of midcentury modernism. His pieces’ sensuous, inviting design and immaculate workmanship elide any distance in critical perception between craft and art, and his furniture is found in private domains throughout the world and in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian. Warm and gregarious, Maloof was loved by those who knew him. His Southern California compound became the hub of a rich network of artists and artisans; and today, six years after his death, thousands of visitors pass through his home and workshop to catch a glimpse of a life so rich in beauty.

Nora Atkinson, Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft, Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian

American Art Museum: “As snapshots of a life devoted to craft, this book should be a touchstone for any would-be craftsman. Here is the secret of what it’s all about not a fly-by-night sensation, but hard work, dedication, and genuine love of material and community, refined over decades. It is a rare treat to read such intimate portraits of one of the great craftsmen of our time.”

This engaging book, which will be released on the centennial of Maloof’s birth, skillfully weaves together the words of family, friends, and associates to present thirty-six perspectives on a great artist. Far from the solitary genius we often imagine a creative person to be, the person who emerges from these stories is both the proud product of the community from which he originated and an anchor of the Pomona Valley arts scene he helped create. Surprising and illuminative, Sam Maloof places not only art but also the role of the artist, at the heart of our culture.

Fred Setterberg is the author of The Roads Taken: Travels Through America’s Literary Landscapes, winner of the AWP prize in creative nonfiction. He co-wrote Under the Dragon: California’s New Culture with Lonny Shavelson (Heyday), and edited Travelers’ Tales America. Setterberg’s essays and reporting have appeared in The Iowa Review, The Southern Review, The New York Times, The Nation, The Utne Reader, The Boston Phoenix, and scores of other journals and magazines. Fred is a recipient of an NEA fellowship, the William Faulkner-William Wisdom essay prize, fiction awards from The Florida Review, Literal Latte, and Solstice Literary Magazine, and numerous journalism awards. A former staff writer for the East Bay Express, he lives in Oakland, California. For more info, visit:

Heyday is an independent, nonprofit publisher and unique cultural institution. We promote widespread awareness and celebration of California’s many cultures, landscapes, and boundary-breaking ideas. Through our well-crafted books, public events, and innovative outreach programs we are building a vibrant community of readers, writers, and thinkers.

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