Rhode Island School of Design, M.F.A. (Furniture Design) 1986
Iowa State University, B.A. (Art and Design), 1984
Sales Consultant/Designer, Sun Design and Remodeling , 2016-2019.
Position combines all aspects of sales and design. Help clients realize their vision throughout the entire sales and design process starting at running leads, determining core emotional buying reasons, giving an initial budget range and presenting design agreements. Manage sales funnel and follow up with clients to close design agreements. Execute site measures and create as-built drawings in Chief Architect software. Create CAD plans and 3D renderings throughout the design process. Draw up permit plans for submission permitting office. Create detailed estimates and write contracts. Work with other designers, estimators and engineers as needed for each project.
Lead Designer, Sun Design and Remodeling , 2012-2016.
Led teams that included selections designers, CADD designers, sales persons and production personnel. Worked with clients to transform their spaces from initial layout of the new space, through selections and continued through the construction process. Projects included kitchens, baths, basements, additions and whole house remodels. Became Senior Lead Designer in 2015.
Sales/Design, The Kitchen Guild, 2011-2012
Worked as sales person in the showroom and was responsible for all aspects of each project including working with clients from initial design and layout to cabinet selecions, tile, countertops, flooring, plumbing fixtures and electrical fixtures. Priced each project. Production manager for each project
Owner, Benson Fine Woodcrafting, 2008-
Remodeling company specializing in kitchens, baths and built-in custom crafted cabinetry. Licensed Virginia class V contractor. EPA lead safe certified.
Owner, Jonathan Benson Furniture, 1992-
Manufacture of furniture, high-end cabinetry and architectural millwork in residential and commercial settings
Transforming your Kitchen with Stock Cabinetry, by Jonathan Benson, Fox Chapel Publishing, East Petersburg, PA, 2009 Complete guide to kitchen design, remodeling and cabinetry installation.
Woodworker’s Guide to Bending Wood, by Jonathan Benson, Fox Chapel Publishing, East Petersburg, PA, 2008. This is a comprehensive guide to wood bending that details seven different techniques including steam bending, bent lamination and bent plywood construction.
Woodworkers Guide to Veneering and Inlay, by Jonathan Benson, Fox Chapel Publishing, East Petersburg, PA, 2008. This book covers all aspects of wood veneering including material, process and design.
Veneering: Start to Finish with Jonathan Benson, Popular Woodworking, F+W Media 2015. Step by step guide to veneering, inlay and repair.
The Advanced Art of Veneering with Jonathan Benson, Popular Woodworking, F+W Media 2015. Step by step guide to advanced veneering, techniques.
MAGAZINE ARTICLES by Jonathan Benson:
“Book Matched Clocks”, American Woodturner, Summer 2008 A step by description of the design, construction and lathe turning of solid spalted maple clocks.
“Inlaid Desk: Start to Finish” Woodworker West, Pending publication This article details the construction of a traditional desk with an inlaid walnut burl top.
How to Work Studio Furniture Commissions, Woodshop News. March, 2007. This article explains the differences and similarities between working with clients when building studio furniture verses more traditional kitchen and cabinet types of commissions.
“Veneering Demands Right Adhesive Choice” Woodshop News, February 2007. This article examines the many types of adhesives available and their suitability to variety of veneering applications.
“A Wall Mirror With Curves”, Woodwork Magazine, December 2006. The article details how to construct a mirror with veneer covered, bent laminated sides. Processes covered include bending, veneering, hammer veneering and router joinery.
“The Commission: A Creative Process” Furniture Studio III, Published by the Furniture Society, 2005. This book chapter explores the creative process involved when furniture makers interact with clients. The commissioning process was examined as inspiration for new work and new ideas. Five makers were interviewed for this publication.
“When it’s Time to Move Your Shop”, Pro Shop Column, Woodshop News Magazine, January, 2005. This article explains the best way to move a woodworking operation over a long distance. Topics covered included what keep and what to sell, costs and logistics.
“Marketing and Sales for Northern New Mexico Wood Artisans--An Action Plan
For Wood Artists”, Prepared for the USDA by the Tri-Area Association for Economic Development and co-authored with Sherry Wise, 2002. This comprehensive document looked at the overall market for home furnishings, art objects and studio furniture. It then went on to explain strategies for artisans to identify and reach customers most likely to purchase their work.
PRESENTATIONS / SEMINARS:
“Veneer Matching” Class to be presented at the AWFS trade show in Las Vegas, NV in July, 2017. Basics of working with veneers, matching and finishing.
“Veneering Start to Finish with”, Marc Adams School of Woodworking, Franklin, IN, July 2016. This one week course in veneering began with the basic book match and go through four-, eight- and twelve-way matches. Hammer veneering and working with curves also were introduced
“Wood Veneering Workshops”, Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, VA. These weekend workshops cover the basics of working with fine wood veneers. 2009
“Veneering and Wood Bending Seminars”, (ongoing) At regional Woodcraft stores. Introductory lectures, classes and seminars covering veneering, wood bending and related topics 2008 to present
“Veneering Workshop with Jonathan Benson”, Marc Adams School of Woodworking, Franklin, IN, August 2008. This one week course in veneering began with the basic book match and go through four-, eight- and twelve-way matches. Hammer veneering and working with curves also were introduced.
“Veneering Seminar”, Prairie Rose Studio, Indianola, IA, April 2007 and October 2007. In this two-day seminar, participants with no previous experience were able complete a basic book-match, a four-way match, an eight way match and an inlay.
“Bending Wood”, Des Moines Woodworkers Club, Des Moines, IA, April, 2007. This demonstration presented wood bending techniques including steam bending, bent lamination and forming plywood using vacuum press.
“Marketing for Woodworking”, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 2007. This seminar for I.S.U. career days gave students tools for learning about the woodworking market and marketing their work.
“Veneering With a Master Craftsman”, The Woodsmith Store, Urbandale, IA, 2006 and 2007. These seminars sought to take the mystery out of veneering by showing audience members who possess a few basic tools how to get started with veneering by making a basic project. More complex processes where also presented to illustrate the many possibilities of veneering.
“Artist Presentation” Furniture Society Annual Conference, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, July 2005. This presentation included a demonstration of the hammer veneering process, veneer inlay and a slide presentation of my work.
“Marketing for Furniture Makers”, Delivered at the Furniture Society Annual Conference, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA, June, 2004.
This was a hands-on workshop for makers who wished to get the word out about their work. Topics covered included press releases, press kits, mailing lists, advertising and how to get free publicity.
“Developing a Portfolio”, Delivered at the Furniture Society Annual Conference,
Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA, June, 2004. This workshop covered several different types of portfolios and what materials each should contain. Topics covered included types of portfolios, resumes, cover letters, images, and how to find and approach galleries, stores and potential clients.
“How Studio Furniture Pushes the Envelope Between Function and Art”, Delivered
at the “Small Wood 2002; Community & Economic Development Opportunities in Small Tree Utilization” conference. This conference was sponsored by the USDA Forest Service and took place in Albuquerque, NM in 2002. This presentation began with a brief history of hand-made furniture in the United States and continued with an examination various recent trends in furniture design, then concluded with an introduction of the work of many studio furniture makers that were working currently at that time.
“ Guest Artist/Critic”, The University of Miami, Ohio, 2002. Presentations included history of furniture design, my work over 25 years and concluded with a critique of student work.
Instructor, Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe, NM, 2000-2004
Taught woodworking, woodturning, marketing and the business of woodworking
Instructor, Thomas Jefferson Community Center, Arlington, VA, 1996-1999
Instructor/Chair of design department, Genoa School of Arts and Crafts, Genoa, NY, 1991-1992
Temporary Assistant Professor, College of Design, Iowa State University, 1987-1991
Teaching Assistant, Rhode Island School of Design, 1984-1985
COLLEGE COURSES TAUGHT:
Cabinet Design and Construction
-Designing and constructing face frame and frameless cabinets including drawer construction, architectural detail and trim and installation.
Beginning through Advanced Furniture Design
-Drawing, mechanical drawing, design basics, idea generation, visual self-expression ergonomics and furniture history.
Beginning through Advanced Furniture Construction
-Wood properties, hand tool use, safe and proper machine tool use, joinery (both hand-cut and machine made), and the use of alternative materials such as stone, metal and glass. Also all types of finishing and surface treatment.
Beginning through Advanced Wood Turning
-Spindle turning, faceplate turning, design aesthetics and sculpting with the lathe.
Veneering, Bending and Laminating
-Construction of bent panels, bent laminations, steam bending, basic veneering, inlay veneering and the manufacture and use of band saw-veneers.
Business of Woodworking and Art
-Tax structures, bookkeeping, basic economics, hiring employees, costing, advertising, marketing, press releases, press kits, working with clients, stores and galleries and how to write a business plan.
-Drawing, elements and principles of design and art appreciation.
-Modeling, sculpting, elements and principles of design and visualization.
Grand Award winner 2015 and 2018
Merritt Winner 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2019
Custom Woodworking Business Magazine National Design Portfolio Awards: Honorable Mention, Residential Furniture, 2003.
Niche Awards Finalist: Rosen Group Publishing, Baltimore, MD, 2002.
Niche Awards Finalist: Rosen Group Publishing, Baltimore, MD, 2001.
Northern New Mexico Woodworkers’ Guild: (Award, Best Art Appeal) Annual Show, Santa Fe, NM, 1999.
Iowa Arts: (Juried, First Award, Crafts) Memorial Union, Ames, IA, 1984.
Art and Design Annual: (Merit Award) Iowa State University College of Design, Ames Iowa, 1984.
ARTICLES / PUBLICATIONS (About Mr. Benson):
“Furniture in Motion”, Brad Walseth, Custom Woodworking Business Magazine,August, 2008. Mr. Benson’s approach to business and design is the topic of this article.
“Unexpected Turns” Des Moines Home Style Magazine, July 2008. An in-depth look at the life and work of Jonathan Besnon.
“Shaping a Career”, Jim Pollok, Des Moines Business Record, November 6, 2006. Mr. Benson’s work and career profiled.
“Making Furniture with Curve Appeal”, Workbench Magazine, April, 2006. Mr. Benson’s unique approach to design and furniture construction are explained.
“Turning The Tables on Furniture Design”, by Dottie Endyke, Santa Fean Magazine, November 2004. Mr, Benson’s work is profiled.
“Wood Art Today”, by Dona Meilach, Schiffer Press, 2003 Work profiled in book.
“Form Follows Function”, by Jeanie Puleston Fleming, New Mexico Magazine, April, 2002. Mr. Benson’s work and career presented.
“Craftsman Thrives on TRADE”, by Lorraine Goldman, The Santa Fe New Mexican, July 31, 2001. How Mr. Benson promotes himself and his work. How he works with local non-profit organizations to promote his work and helps others to promote their work.
“Commissions”, American Craft Magazine, February/March 2001. Work presented.
“Benson’s Work in Wood is Fanciful, Solid”, by Paul Weideman, Pasatiempo Magazine, The Santa Fe New Mexican,December 31, 1999. Benson’s work and life profiled.
“Furniture Maker’s Bent for Curves Inspired by Futurist Mania for Motion”, by Roger Farrand, Woodshop News, May 1993. Benson’s work and life profiled.
“Designing Furniture: From Concept to Shop Drawing” by Seth Stem, Taunton Press, 1989. Work used as example in book.
Restored Homes in Geneva, NY and Alexandria, VA, and Des Moines, IA
-General contractor for three homes. Handled planning, design, construction, cabinetry and all other work through the finish-out stage.
Production Wood Turner (Part-time 1987-present)
-Produced balusters, newel posts, columns for stairs and architectural details such as mantles, cabinetry and porches.
Cabinet Maker, Carl Tesse Designs, Alexandria VA 1997-1999
-Made and installed high-end cabinetry in homes in the Washington, DC area.
Independent contractor for custom homes in Santa Fe, NM 1999-2001
-Built and finished homes in Santa Fe, NM area including hiring subcontractors, finishing the homes and building and installing cabinets, trim and doors.