handcrafted furniture made in maine
In 2011, Brian began the process of voluntarily organizing a community outreach program to teach fine furniture making in the Maine State Prison Industries Program. The Maine Prison Outreach Program in Warren, Maine commenced in August 2012 and continues its seventh year of operation in 2019. The Maine program is designed to be self-sustaining, and was modeled after the American Furniture Masters Institute's (AFMI) Prison Outreach Program. As the current students build their skills, they will then be able to transfer their fine woodworking skills and knowledge to other inmates.
After one year, the students were creating exceptional work with crisp dovetails, mortise-and-tenon joinery. They are now embracing the creative impulse and designing unique pieces, not designs copied from a book. View some of their work-in-action (photos courtesy of Marti Stone Photography). In 2016, Reid began teaching a second group of students; to date, the program has between twelve and fourteen students total.
Howard Hatch (Portland) currently leads the program while Brian Reid (Rockland) and Jeffrey Cooper (Portsmouth, NH) are secondary instructors. Dylan Fuller (pictured far right) taught between 2012-2015.
We are grateful for significant tool and video donations by Lie-Nielsen Tools, The Gallery at Somes Sound's six-year sponsorship and support of the Maine Prison Outreach Program and financial contributions of generous private donors.
Your generous tax deductible contribution helps with wood materials, tools or machine equipment purchases that advances inmates' skills and confidence.
Upwards of $40,000 of prisoner furniture has been sold since the program began. One-third of the monies received for furniture sales goes directly to the inmates, one-third is reimbursed to AFMI and remaining one-third is returned to the Maine State Prison Industries Program for materials and supplies. Unfortunately, the program is not currently set up to do private commissions.
Maine Prison Outreach furniture can be purchased through the Maine State Prison Showroom, 358 Main St., Thomaston, ME.
Contact Brian to learn more about the Prison Outreach Program.
- Woodworking Behind Bars: Brian Reid teaches prison inmates how to craft fine furniture, Down East, June 2015
- Fine Furniture Created by Inmates from New Hampshire and Maine Correctional Facilities, Fine Woodworking, April 2015
- Made in Prison: Furniture masters teach inmates lessons about art, craft and life, Art New England, November/December 2014
- Out of the Woodwork, Woodshop News, August 2013
- Fine Woodworking Program, Maine State Prison, Warren ME, Courier-Gazette Publications, June 2013