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College of Arts and Humanities

CWU Alumna’s Artwork Featured in Museum Permanent Collections Throughout the World

Five of artist Nancy Worden's large one-of-a-kind necklaces were recently acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for their permanent collection. In addition, the State Hermitage Museum in Russia has just accessioned her necklace, The Good Omen, and it will be exhibited there in the fall of 2014. Worden received a bachelor’s of fine art in art from Central Washington University in 1977.

“In all of my jewelry pieces, I strive for beauty and comfort,” said Worden. “When a woman wears my work, I want it to say, ‘I'm beautiful, smart, and I won't be ignored.’ I start with what is physically comfortable to wear and add American artifacts: typewriter balls, hair curlers, and ball chain are carefully transformed to say ancient, valuable and unique.”

Nancy Worden's jewelry is an exploration of materials from modern American culture intertwined with an intensive study of the history of jewelry design from around the world.

Her work is inspired by cultural observations and the challenges of everyday life.

Nancy Worden began making jewelry in high school. After graduating from CWU, she finished her master’s of fine art from the University of Georgia, and later worked in manufacturing for five years where she honed her skills as a bench jeweler. In 1995, with funds from a commission for the City of Seattle, she taught herself to electroform and has been experimenting with it ever since.

In 2004, she was named the CWU College of Arts and Humanities Distinguished Alumna of the Year.

She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, from the Tacoma Art Museum and the Boston Museum of Fine Art to the Stedelijk Museum’s-Hertogengosch, in Amsterdam. Her unique jewelry is in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Seattle Art Museum and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

An interview with Nancy Worden can be viewed here.

Photo: Nancy Worden wearing one of her signature neckpieces, Shedding. On the right is Double Ball Bead with Silver Finish.