From the beginning
and approach to work was firmly grounded in the Arts and Crafts movement’s
dedication to simplicity and integrity. His work gradually evolved
into a modern sculptural style, incorporating glass and metal into
more playful, kinetic designs, like a mahogany coffee table with a
beveled and rabetted top that seems to float. Recently he has found
renewed inspiration in more traditional forms, but his work is a unique
amalgamation of wide-ranging influences—the elegantly sweeping
lines of a sturdy oak stool reveal themselves as the shape of a Chinese
character, while the sharply angled legs of a koa, aluminum, and glass
writing table are distinctly Art Deco.
Rogowski’s fine furniture drew praise—he designed and built the
desks and tables for the Oregon State Archives in Salem, his largest public
commission—but he struggled to find a market. As much as he loved the
work, his distaste for business nearly led him a few years ago to ditch everything
and look for something new to do.
Instead, Rogowski reinvented himself as a teacher and writer, coming full
circle to his college career plans. He’s never enjoyed so much success.
He has written numerous articles for Fine Woodworking magazine; written two
books, including The Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery, an impressively
illustrated text for hobbyists; and starred in a series of instructional videos
such as Twelve Ways to Make a Mortise and Tenon.
And after teaching woodworking at art schools in the area for decades he
finally decided to start his own school and transformed his workspace into
Woodworking Studio. The idea took off—last year he enrolled around 300
students, and he plans to expand offerings in 2003.