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About Artist Martha Jo Benson

General Statement

I enjoy forming silver and other metals into jewelry and vessels, called hollowware. One process stimulates the other. I like to use semi-precious and intricately carved stones set in unusual ways and design the piece itself around the stone to compliment it.


My jewelry is wearable art that sometimes remembers ancient designs and sometimes leaps forward to challenge traditional concepts


  • Annual Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival, El Museo Cultural Center, Santa Fe, NM, 2009
  • Annual Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival, El Museo Cultural Center, Santa Fe, NM, 2008
  • 29th Annual Contemporary Crafts, Mesa Contemporary Arts Center, Mesa. Arizona, 2007
  • Octagon 40th Anniversary Founders Exhibit, Octagon Center for the Arts, Ames, Iowa Jewelry and Hollowware. October 24, 2006 - January 12, 2007.
  • Finalist in the "Niche Award Program," sponsored by Niche and American Style magazines. Work exhibited at the 2006 Philadelphia Craft Show In connection with "The Buyers' Market."
  • Octagon National Crafts Exhibit, Ames, Iowa, 2006 "Honorable Mention" for Pair of Leaf Wedding Goblets
  • Solo Exhibit: "Martha Jo Benson, Metalsmith: Objects of Faith and Joy," Hand Artes Gallery, Truchas, New Mexico, August 13- September 17, 2005.
  • "The Eternal Light," International Exhibit," The Spertus Museum, Chicago, IL, 2004
  • "Crafts National," Lancaster Museum of Art, Lancaster, PA, August 9-September 14, 2003.
  • “Collect: Inside 8/3,” Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, NM, April 4-28, 2002
  • “Contemporary Works of Faith,”, The Schumaker Gallery, Capital University, Columbus, Ohio, March 4-April 4, 2003. “Best in Ceremonial Objects" Award.”
  • American Crafts Council Crafts Show, San Francisco, CA, August 8-12, 2001
  • “Featured Artist for July, 2001," The Tapestry Gallery, Madrid, New Mexico
  • “Studio Artists of Northern New Mexico,” The Governor’s Gallery, State Capitol Building, Santa Fe, NM. July-October,2001 .
  • “National Crafts Show,” Octagon Center for the Arts, Ames, Iowa, April, 2001
  • “College of Design Alumni Jewelry and Metalsmith Exhibit,” Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 1999 .
  • "The Spice Container, " International Exhibit,” Spertus Museum, Chicago IL. 1998.
  • "REFINED," National Silversmithing Exhibition, Nacogdoches, TX, 1998 .
  • “Iowa Crafts 28,” MacNider Museum, Mason City, IA, 1996.
  • "Founders' Show," Octagon Center for the Arts, Ames, Iowa, 1996.
  • “46th Annual Quad Cities Exhibition,” Quincy, IL, 1996.
  • “Art of Women,” Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 1996
  • “Two Rivers Art Expo,” Des Moines, IA, 1995 .
  • “Iowa State Crafts,” Des Moines, IA, 1995.
  • “Octagon National Crafts Exhibition,” Octagon Center for the Arts, Ames, IA, 1995 ":Honorable Mention" for “A Chalice for Julia,
  • “Iowa Crafts 27,” MacNider Museum, Mason City, IA, 1994 Best in Metals Award, $300.
  • “National Women's Exhibition,” WARM Gallery, Minneapolis, MN, 1991.
  • “Humor in Craft,” Vista Gallery, Middle, FL. 1990


  • Norma Sharon Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
  • Octagon Shop, Octagon Center for the Arts, Ames, IA


  • "The Craft of Silversmithing," by Alex Austin, Lark Books, 2004. (Page 139)
  • "Metalsmith," in "Commissions," Winter, 2003.
  • "American Craft," in Commissions, April/May 2003.


  • Baptismal Bowl for Northminster Presbyterian Church, Ames, Iowa, 2002
  • Altar design and installation of The Chapel of the Virgin Mary Bilek, Czech Republic, 1994.
  • Design of the cross for the roof of St. David’s Episcopal Church, Ames, IA, 1990
  • Producer of a 30-minute video tape, “Four Women in Clay,” 1984.
  • One Woman Show, “Wood Assemblages,” Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 1988.
  • Design of space and construction of six wall-relief sculptures for the Holcomb Memorial Chapel, Mary Greeley Medical Center, Ames, IA, 1976
  • Design and construction of five wall-relief sculptures for St. David’s Episcopal Church Ames, IA, 1976.

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