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Marla Benton


This interactive sculpture is in the form of a tree. It has a metal structural base, ceramic tiles, and metal clothes pins. The trunk, a hollow cylinder tube. The tiles will be hand carved with images of the surrounding area (landmarks, buildings, bridges, maps, trees, leaves, flowers) and text reflecting the trail, where it leads to in either direction. These metal clothes pins will provide a place for trail treasures to be hung - whether it be fallen leaves, small twigs, moss, or fungi - by anyone passing by. This sculpture is interactive and engaging for people that use the trail. The ceramic tiles can be rotated, and people can leave some treasures for other trail users to find.

Marla Benton is a clay artist and educator living and working from her studio in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. She holds degrees from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, the Ontario College of Art and Design (BFA), and Nipissing University (BED). Clay is an art form that allows for function and sculpture to mix or be completely separate - a piece can be simultaneously practical and fanciful. Both Benton’s gallery work, and installation art encourage personal connection through text and interactive hands-on elements. She plays with scale and combines surprising elements to challenge expectations, evoke emotion and curiosity, and encourage interaction and participation. Her work in the last few years with Nocturne: Art at Night and Uncommon Common Art has been highly complimented by an Education outreach programs that allows entire schools to create public art projects. These aspects of her work fuel both her need to create and her desire to teach.

“I strive to create pieces that people think about days after seeing them.  Within my work I want to explore the different concepts of scale, ergonomics, gravity, graphic texture, text, and surface design in my work. Incorporating an interactive aspect to my work is very important, whether it be on a functional, sculptural or installation piece of art. Being able to touch and move and be affected by a piece allows people to experience a deeper connection to the art and for installation, its location.  The interaction leaves them with an emotional, mental, and physical memory of the art. This interactive sculpture allows for physical touching and movement of art.  The hard, smooth metal and the textured ceramic tiles engage with the public and draw them in to look closer at the images and details within.”