Jesse Owen
Berea College
2000

Jesse, a studio art major with an emphasis in sculpture, began his experience in Berea College’s labor program building furniture at the woodcraft shop. When Jesse came to Berea, he knew what he wanted to do after graduation and based his labor program experience on that plan. Jesse moved from the woodcraft shop to the theatre, where he built sets, and then to the blacksmith shop. Each of Jesse’s labor positions helped him to become the very successful furniture builder that he is today. Appreciative of the experience he received at Berea, Jesse said, “The theatre design shop and the blacksmith shop were really powerful experiences. My labor supervisor, Jeff Farmer, taught me a lot about craftsmanship, and I was very fortunate to learn about metallurgy so early on. There aren’t many places where you can do that.” Today, Jesse builds and sells fine furniture all over the world with the company Caste, which has galleries with his work displayed in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Hong Kong, and Moscow.