April 2023 – After 45 years as a pediatrician, John Vogt traded in his stethoscope for a Stanley Bedrock hand plane. In 2019 he decided not to retire, but to repurpose his life by building and donating furniture. He had worked for a nonprofit medical group, devoting the last 10 years of his practice to providing care to MaineCare, immigrants, and asylum-seeking children. Continuing to serve this community in the Portland, ME area, he now makes and donates furniture to Furniture Friends, a nonprofit organization that collects and redistributes used furniture to those who can’t afford basic furniture for their living space.
John joined CFC in the summer of 2022 for the Unplugged Woodshop to improve his craft which concentrates on Shaker, Arts & Crafts, Mission, and New Danish furniture styles. He shares that historically, these have all been related to each other, and find their origin in the Shaker Community in New Gloucester, ME.
“Woodworking has been every bit as rewarding as medicine,” John explains, sharing that the end result for him, is being able to support immigrant populations. It’s a passion he shares with his wife, who is a pro bono asylum lawyer.
John shares that “as I work along, I am often reminded of the lines from a poem by Roger Bridges –an English poet of the 19th century in his efforts to be creative. He states:
“And I too shall something make”
“And joy in the making;”
Is that not the essence of this wonderful craft?”