Eleven benches, crafted by local and regional furniture artists, not only furnish the galleries but also provide an important link between the Museum and New England artists. The Museum has commissioned benches by Silas Kopf, Kristina Madsen, Dale Broholm, Hank Gilpin, Judy Kensley McKie, Rick Wrigley, Polly Cassel, Rosanne Somerson, Mark Del Guidice, Wendy Stayman, and Jason Berg.
Polly Cassel is an accomplished maker of furniture as well as a printmaker; she also has a strong background in ceramics. Cassel traces her interest in furniture making to her childhood, when she made simple forms out of wood. In her bench for Sit Up & Take Notice!the artist used a mahogany slab to create the seat and poplar for the four legs. The seat was given a weathered or “distressed” look, and its edges painted in alternating bright colors, in a mosaic-like pattern. Cassel chose poplar for the legs because it is a softer wood and more easily carved. The lower legs are organic shapes carved into a fanciful design, topped with corncob-like forms, drawn from nature, but not quite of nature.