Loud Bones: The Jewelry of Nancy Worden at Tacoma Art Museum

June 27 – September 20, 2009

Worden uses familiar materials to trigger our memories and emotions. Vintage high-heels, telephone parts, money, credit cards, IBM typewriter balls, hair curlers, and clothespins are blended with the more traditional jewelry materials of copper, silver, and gold to emphasize the beauty in everyday objects. The found materials are carefully chosen artifacts from mid- to late-twentieth century American culture to provide the work with a specific chronology and location.

“Every piece has a story,” Worden says of her work. “People often tell me they recognize themselves in my stories.” Worden’s art provides comfort to those experiencing life’s challenges.   Her social and political commentary is rooted in the universal female experience: coming of age, expressions of femininity, parenting, marriage, and work relationships.

“Nancy’s jewelry is forceful, unapologetic, demanding and gripping,” said Rock Hushka, Tacoma Art Museum’s Curator of Contemporary and Northwest Art. “She has a vast knowledge of jewelry’s traditions and forms, and she plays with the rules. Her jewelry is intellectual and complex, but also aesthetically engaging. She plays a central role in the Northwest jewelry community.”

Loud Bones is a retrospective spanning more than three decades of Worden’s career.   Her work has been published extensively and is included in major private and public collections in the US and abroad. A full color, 128-pagecatalogue, which accompanies the exhibition, includes essays, influences and an interview with the artist.


Loud Bones: The Jewelry of Nancy Worden is organized by Tacoma Art Museum as part of the museum’s Northwest Perspective Series. The exhibition is in tandem with Ornament as Art: Avant-Garde Jewelry from the Helen Williams Drutt Collection, MFA-Houston, on view June 6 through September 13, 2009.