Prison Outreach Programs

What happens when gifted master craftsmen leave the comfort and security of their workshops to go behind prison walls to share their craft?

Beautiful things!

New Hampshire:

Led by Terry Moore and Tom McLaughlin,  members of the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association go behind the prison walls to offer instruction to creative and motivated inmates wanting to improve their furniture-making skills.

To participate, inmates must have a positive attitude and clean disciplinary record.  The program includes tutorials beginning with fundamental skills.  Over time, advanced techniques and the finer aspects of woodworking are presented often featuring the specialty of the instructor.

Inmate Eric Grant works in the wood shop inside the prison. Photos by The Associated Press/Jim Cole

Inmate Eric Grant works in the wood shop inside the prison. Photos by The Associated Press/Jim Cole

Maine:

Brian Reid and Howard Hatch recreated the success of the New Hampshire program  at the Maine State Prison in Warren.  In just a few years, it has met with equal success and proven this formula of Master to student could be replicated beyond New Hampshire's borders.  

Like the flower that springs up through a crack in the pavement against all odds, these men are bringing beauty from the most unexpected places. These objects are full of vibrancy and light. They reflect the maker’s love for the material, respect for the tradition, and newfound esteem for themselves.
— Tom McLaughlin, Furniture Master and Instructor

Interested in creating a Prison Outreach Program?  

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Brian Reid and Howard Hatch, center, flanked by students.

Brian Reid and Howard Hatch, center, flanked by students.

Mentoring Masters:

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The Furniture Masters  teach, write, lecture, and educate, as well as exhibit, make and sell.  They each have divergent  backgrounds and unique specialties and approach the craft from odd angles.  What they have in common is the fundamental belief that making fine furniture is an art form that needs to be preserved.  

Garrett Hack has brought together woodworkers from across New England in a Mentoring Masters program for group and individual instruction.  Students shared a joint exhibit at the Furniture Masters' Gallery in Concord, New Hampshire.

Currently, Jon Brooks has been working one-on-one with a high school student who has shown an aptitude in furniture making.  

Ted Blachly has an apprentice who assists in his workshop.

Mentoring Masters is an important aspect of the American Furniture Masters Institute and one we are eager to pursue in formal and informal settings.

Garrett Hack's Mentoring Masters class in action.

Garrett Hack's Mentoring Masters class in action.