The NH Furniture Masters Prison Outreach Program, spearheaded by Terry Moore and Tom McLaughlin, is now in its fourteenth year. It all began thanks to a suggestion from Superior Court Judge Kathleen McGuire to explore possibilities in the NH State Prison.
The Furniture Masters outreach is a complementary work with the Hobby Craft woodworking program, a long-established rehabilitative effort of the prison system. This Outreach Program provides a regular series of instructional and project-based tutorials designed to teach inmates more advanced techniques and the finer aspects of woodworking. Nearly every month, several Furniture Master members go inside the walls to share their skills and experience with those inspired to further their furniture-making skills.
On a personal note, Tom McLaughlin, shares his inspiration to be involved with the program:
“It is difficult to conceive a more tangible means toward positive change. The actions that lead to incarceration are at their root, evil and destructive --toward others and oneself, a result of seeing things through a lens of worthlessness. But the tangible experience of designing and making something of value and beauty is so good and constructive. Creativity by itself is a substantial argument against worthlessness.
Beyond that, just by passing through the checkpoints, entering their surreal world, I participate in a great exchange much larger than my small efforts. Out of my comfort zone, simply sharing time and skills, it is as if I am on a mission from God. And I am reminded once again that love always wins, causing evil to loosen its grip just a little more. The beautiful workmanship coming out from behind the walls is living proof.”
NHFMA is excited to announce the Prison Outreach Program recently expanded into our neighboring state to the north. Last November, through the organizing efforts of NHFMA members Brian Reid and Howard Hatch, a new program was launched at the Maine State Prison. Off to a running start, they are already making arrangements for inmate creations to be sold in both the prison store and outside galleries
The success of the Prison Outreach Program is due in large part to the hard work and support of the current administrations at each prison. NHFMA would also like to thank all those who have contributed to this educational effort through their financial gifts, patronage, and/or time and energy. This meaningful and impacting work could not exist without their generous support.