“creating courses” Visual Art

Please follow the link to the course work you wish to view:

Independent study Spring 2012

Independent study 2011

Art New England 2011

Studio Investigation 2010


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IS: the final stretch!

May 2012

Please follow this link to view my Thesis progress. (Due on May 17) Benchmark3_Benton_ThesisProjectMay2012PDF



This month I took down the temporary wall and instead built a room. It looks like a set design. It was a rough month for studio since I had so much going on in my own classroom. With April vacation I was able to dig in and produce some significant progress!

I’ve taken lots of photos and created a Powerpoint to view as well as that same Powerpoint in PDF version.  Powerpoint of Thesis Progress      PDF of Thesis Progress

My plans for the immediate future are to focus on the density in areas of the weaving that is currently in place. I’ll consider expanding after I see how a denser piece reads.



This past month I set up a temporary wall to emulate the area I’ll be using this summer in my thesis show.

I purchased a vintage style step ladder stool which (during our last meeting) I mentioned represented a similar stool I had growing up. This stool was important to me as I used it as a high chair, my mother used it as a step stool, I had my hair cut in it, I sat in it as a teenager, etc. I purchased the stool in all white and I am using it to stand and sit on while I work. At some point I will paint even the treads white and have the weaving over take it, absorbing it.

Currently the weaving is moving in a direction I am pleased with. I am looking at the work of Anne Mudge a lot right now.  The loose gestural lines come together in moments of structure yet quickly loosen again.

My work right now is reading as a growth… I am purposely incorporating a vine like appearance and moments of control (ie. pod like areas). I’m using two sizes of natural colored reed for stable, more established lines, and thinner reed for newer growth.

I am paying attention to the the way in which the piece is responding to the space it lives in. It is and will slowly take over, attaching, growing over, and penetrating the walls around it.

I’ve also included a test picture in which I turned the lights in the room down and placed some battery operated tea lights*  inside parts of the sculpture. I really liked the way this looked… as if these small parts are life sources of their own, yet still part of the whole. (*Simple LED lights could be used instead of the tea lights– these are just what I had on hand.)

I feel like I am on the right track. I will definitely be adjusting the wall opposite of the main sculpture. (The part with the largest pod like piece). I’m also thinking that the step chair will be taken over on the back of the wall (again, the side without the pod like pieces).

Here are photo of my progress:












Feb 16

After looking at the sculpture on the wall… (it’s doing nothing for me) I think that I’ll move it into the corner and have it ‘grow’ from there.

Progress as of Feb. 14th.

I spent time over the weekend and also on Mon. night incorporating blue into the ‘armature’ of my sculpture. I also began ‘de-constructing the weaving  (third image to right below) that I featured in my Feb 9th post.

I hung the entire piece on the wall so I can live and look at it for a few days. It definitely looks like it is being stored on the wall instead of working as a unit. But of course I just got started so this is a part of the process. * Please also see Feb 9th post below.

Progress as of Feb 9th.

Weaving is incredibly time consuming and it seems like there is very little progress! These photos below reflect about eight hours of work. I’m starting to see some structural elements I think are working while other areas definitely need some attention.

Last week I started a similar process with my fourth grade art students. They were intrigued with what seemed like an usual process to weave as we usually use board looms. I explained that our looms were used for basket forms.






I thought I would build a combination of written and video evidence of my progress this semester. Here is the first post to mark the beginning of the final stretch!

Step one of my sculpture installation



click on this image to see the video.

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Presentation for Benchmark II

Choose the link below for my presentation for Bench Mark II:
Final PresentationBentonBenchMark

Choose this link for a PDF version:

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Fall 2011 Independent Study

December 2011

 Here is my last weaving of the semester. I also have added a quick video of the piece. It’s big so be patient: Video of last weaving of the Fall Semester 2011

Considerations I have pondered as I begin to get ready to build my piece next semester.

I can’t start by working on the wall. I have to build the piece on a table and later move it to the wall where I can turn it before committing to a position.

Deconstruction is vital to the piece. In November I attempted to build it on the wall but kept hesitating because it did not feel right. I need to make the piece, starting as if it is going to be a standard basket and then break away into the random weave. This also seems to mimic the subject matter I am inspired by.

This time I also tried plastic tubing which I filled with tiny beads. I really like the tubing as it is clear and almost feels as if it could be circulating blood throughout the vessel. Note: I don’t intend on actually doing that- I just noticed that the tubing reminded me of veins.

Shadows! Oh the shadows! The ‘drawing’ I created on the wall in November is still there. I visit each day to spend time with it. This has really helped me to realize where I went off track in my process. I have noticed the piece is creating intricate, wonderful, beautiful shadows at different times of the day. I plan to experiment with shadows to see if it will add more dimension to my piece.

that’s it till January!





November 17, 2011

Here is my update for the Nov. 17th meeting.  Nov_17_IS_meeting


I am currently taking an Independent Study with Jen Hall. Below, find links with my progress. Please note that I am slightly behind due to the death of a family member I have been caring for, but am trying to catch up.

October 2011:

  1. Click the link for the summary of my Sept. 21st meeting with Professor Jen Hall regarding my first set of notes and sketches and how to streamline and navigate my thesis project. Summary/Revisions after Sept 21meeting
  2. In October, during my commute to work and MassArt, I listened to the audio book: Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher. She has rapidly shifting bipolar type one, untreated for most of her life, and is also an alcoholic. My mother, had type two bipolar which does not cycle as rapidly, she was not an alcoholic, and was untreated until she was in her thirties. From Hornbacher’s story I was able to recognize some similarities in her behavior and my mothers. Her story also helped me to her her interactions with family and friends which assisted me in creating my interview questions.
  3. I am currently in the process of interviewing people who are either diagnosed with bipolar disorder or have a close relationship with an individual with bipolar. I am also trying to answer the questions in the interview myself, using my deceased mother as the source. As I am only looking to the experiences of others as a way to determine if there are similarities within the disorder, and in comparison with my mother’s illness, the interview is informal in nature. No names or actual stories will be used, instead the information will serve as a catalyst for my own understanding.
    Read the interview questions here: Bipolar Interview

September 2011:

  1. I finished up an experimental sculpture for my summer Sculptural Weaving course. I was interested in working with wire but decided it was too rigid. Revisions were difficult and I would like the opportunity to assemble and disassemble with greater ease as part of the creative process. Click on this link to see the images: Metal Sculpture Test
  2. Click here to see my to do list: Course of Action for Research
  3. Click here to seethe typed up notes form my sketchbook: Sketchbook notes
  4. Click here to see sketches of my first ideas for my sculpture. Sketch of first ideas for sculpture



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sculptural weaving at Art New England

Please click on an image (not the written link) below to view a slide show of the work produced during this studio course:

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ceramics at Art New England

During the summer of 2011 I took three courses at Art New England. My first two courses were in ceramics, a media I wanted to explore as I had thought of possibly incorporating it into my final thesis. I was conflicted on have a site-specific work vs. a work I could keep afterwards, and wanted to push though a decision by summer’s end.

The conclusion was that although I really love ceramics, I prefer the more instant flexibility in what I might loosely call ‘wirey’ sculptural forms. The aesthetics of the ceramic courses were determined by the building techniques and glazing success. This criteria was far too technical for what I am currently seeking for my thesis project.

The images below display my experimentation in ceramics. It will be a great media for me to make satisfyingly beautiful things rather than conceptual. And, it’s always a great way to make gifts for people… :-)
Course one was Alternative Firing Techniques, while course two was Hand-built ceramics. Click on the image below (not the written link) to view a slide show.

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MSAE Visual Works

This page may be used to navigate to visual works completed during my MSAE program. Please choose the link below to the visual work you are seeking:



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Problems in Aesthetics

Below is a link to the final paper for this course:


Journal entries:

jan 30: Ode to Calder

jan 30: Piano Man

jan 29

jan 26, one

jan 26, two

journal entry: jan. 23/11


Jan. 19 assignment

add on to Jan 19. assignment / for Jan 26

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Issues in Contemporary Art

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History of Goals & Methods of Art Education

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