Gary Rogowski is a furniture maker. After picking up his degree in literature from Reed College, in 1974 he found an old wooden plane and a chunk of fir outside his house. He wondered what he could do with these things. Forty years later he is known internationally as a teacher, lecturer, author, and designer. He started showing his work in galleries in the late 70’s locally and then nationwide, building custom made furniture for public and private commissions. His work was shown in the 1989 Biennial Art Festival at the Portland Art Museum and his public furniture graces the Taunton Press, Oregon State Archives, St. Juan Diego Parish, Temple Beth Israel, the Universalist Unitarian Church, and the Oregon State Forest Service headquarters in Salem, Oregon.
He has been writing about the craft of woodworking since 1988 with dozens of articles, videos, and several books on joinery published. The Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery is in its 20th printing for Taunton Press. He was a Contributing Editor at Fine Woodworking Magazine for 15 years. In 1991 he was awarded the Oregon Arts Commission fellowship in Crafts. He started teaching woodworking in 1980 at schools in the Northwest and around the country. In 1997 he founded his school, The Northwest Woodworking Studio, A School for Woodworkers, in Portland, Oregon. In 2015 he started and now runs a non-profit to mentor high school students at the bench called WIN Oregon, Winoregon.org. His essays have been published online with Coldnoon, the International Journal of Travel Writing, Praxis Magazine, Craftsmanship Quarterly, and Furniture & Cabinetmaking Magazine, U.K.
His latest book is called Handmade, Creative Focus in the Age of Distraction, Linden Publishing. It is a narrative on creativity and practice, on the value of failure and forgiveness in our work. In this time of attention disorder, the book argues that for individuals and for societies to remain creative, we must stay engaged with the physical world as a means of thinking more clearly.