Furniture maker, artist makes first festival showing

Published 8:46 pm Thursday, April 22, 2010

What started as a trip to a Chicago dog park for one Old English Bulldog and a Boston Terrier has resulted in a small modern furniture business that’s made its way to Pike County.

Troy’s relatively new Caleb Dawson, part owner of Roscoe Jackson’s furniture and full-owner of the Old English Bulldog “Roscoe” portion of the name, has been working locally since his move in July 2008.

Resident’s won’t find his furniture displayed in a store, but those who look hard enough could find Dawson busy at work in his shop behind the Pike County Economic Development Center.

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And this weekend, they can look even less hard and find some of his work displayed at TroyFest, as part-businessman, part-local artist Dawson makes his first art show appearance.

Dawson will bring his unique business’s furniture for display, but the artist will also bring a little work of his own — wooden crosses he’s designed especially for the event.

“I wanted to be a part of TroyFest and thought, ‘What’s something I can make that will sell?’” he said.

“And so I made just one to two of each (cross) design. I never made them before, but I’m a Christian person and it’s a meaningful symbol to me and a lot of others in this area.”

Dawson and his Chicago-based partner Shawn Gnann met as friends in a dog park.

“We started talking about furniture, what we liked and what we didn’t,” Dawson said.

And eventually, that turned into a business. “We sell some online, in some stores and in a catalog,” Dawson said.

The Roscoe Jackson furniture is certainly unique, particularly to the Troy area.

From stools shaped like asterisks (yes, the punctuation marks) and wine racks to light fixtures and chairs, the business duo has a varied collection of furniture items.

All made from recycled materials, Dawson said the furniture has a clean and modern look at low-to-moderate prices.

“We really focus on environmentally sustainable materials, recycled plastics, woods we can account for the source,” he said.

Dawson even makes some things from old sailboat sails.

Before he began his business, Dawson said he made some pieces of furniture.

“My dad was always handy, and I was always working in his shop,” Dawson said. “When I lived in Birmingham I entered a piece of furniture in a charity auction, and it went over really well.”

Before Dawson became a full-time furniture maker, he worked in graphic design.

But there’s something about designing furniture that’s special to the local artist.

“The really great thing about being a designer is you create things people hopefully have an emotional attachment to,” he said.

“The best thing is creating something people will pass down from generation to generation.”

Dawson and his wife Elizabeth moved to Troy when the Elizabeth got a job with the Charles Henderson Child Health Center.

The two had hopes of being closer to their families and starting a family of their own.

Since, the two have grown their family with the birth of their daughter Josephine. And of course, Roscoe the family pet is still a big part of the home.

While Dawson doesn’t have his work on regular display, he is grateful for the area he has to build.

“I really appreciate the support of the Pike County Economic Development Corporation. It has been essential to our company growing,” he said.

The company recently has seen significant growth with business with Starbucks. For more information on this local artist see