Morality and Craftsmanship


Sam Maloof in his workshop, January 2003

“I try to live right. I always try to adhere to what I think is right, and that, to me, is the most important part of creative work. So much of me goes into each piece that I make 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.” —Sam Maloof

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9 Responses to Morality and Craftsmanship

  1. Tim Raleigh says:

    Great quote. Was just discussing this very thing this AM.


  2. Morality and craftsmanship, are you actually being serious? I find it hard to believe.


  3. What does “living right” mean? And what is the connection between morality and craftsmanship?


    • Kara Uhl says:

      I think “right” is individual. We each have our own moral code. And perhaps “morality” was the wrong word. Maybe even “craftsmanship.” But they were the words that came to me. I can’t pretend to know exactly what Maloof meant by this quote except that when choosing one to feature I kept coming back to this one. Maybe “right” was how he treated those who worked for him, how he treated his customers, how he loved his first wife and second, how he invited us to his favorite restaurant for burritos after our visit and knew those who worked there by name. Or maybe it was something deeper, a connection between living and working in a certain way that agreed with one another. Or maybe I have put way too much thought into it entirely, ha! But I do like the quote.


  4. tpier says:

    I think he is talking about how you treat other people and being “honest” in your dealings. I don’t think he is talking about some judeo/christian/islamic action code.


  5. wmcdermott says:

    If you are working with your hands, you are continually making decisions. E.g. Do I remove more wood from this area or not… This is your inner self, your soul, speaking to the material world through your hands. One would hope it is thoughtful and intentional if one is engaged in creative work. This is not necessarily the case in utilitarian or production work.

    By extension, one might live the creative parts of their life with a keen sense of intention that relates directly to morality. Brushing your teeth or riding the bus to work might not fit that model. Sam Maloof may have been the extraordinary person he was because his life was spent in the creative mode.

    Creativity : Intentional Action : Morality


  6. Mark Baker says:

    As I Built the ‘Hawaiian Mission Rockers’ that we offered in 6 gallery’s on the Big Island of Hawaii , Sam’s Rockers were always my interest . The flowing form , the carved seat , those wonderful ‘rug cutters’ as the early rocker’s were called . After some inspiration of Sam’s wonderful products , I was able to make one that I called ‘modular’ in that it could be built around the intended person frame and size . from shorter folks to the really tall or portly . These keep their Hawaiian taste and flair since the crest rail remained either mission or Lilliokilone in nature and all were made of 100% Koa .


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