Southern California lost an influential craftsman and teacher, John Nyquist, earlier this summer when he died at the age of 82.
Nyquist was a nationally known and respected furniture maker whose studio and home was in Long Beach.
Known for his high level of craftsmanship, Nyquist worked in exotic woods and created pieces that were impeccably made. He created spindle-back rockers, upholstered lounge chairs, credenza, music stands, free-edge coffee tables, jewelry boxes and dining tables among many other forms. His careful design choices, and his religious attention to the finishing (the polishing, sanding and ne upholstery and leathers) created lusciously tactile pieces that yearned to be touched, and used.
Nyquist’s work was shown consistently during his lifetime in major exhibitions and shows including the seminal “California Design” exhibitions (1964-1976) at the Pasadena Museum of Art. Nyquist maintained a studio practice, and a bevy of faithful private clients who commissioned his work for their homes and offices for more than 60 years. In the last decades of his life, he enjoyed a national reputation as part of a small number of noted makers who led the West Coast studio-craft movement.
Nyquist taught at CSLULB and Cerritos College as well as at the Anderson Ranch in Colorado during the summer.
Nyquist met his wife Shirley in Long Beach, when they were both in high school. They were married in 1957 and together raised six children.
Nyquist was laid to rest on Sept. 8 at a packed service at St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church in Belmont Shore.
A version of this story first appeared in SoCal magazine, www.socalmag.com.