"Cold Connections" Workshop by Nancy Worden

February 21 & 22th , 2009

Written by Gail and Carl Pitts

Nancy Worden workshop poster

On the weekend of 21-22 February 2009, ADC South welcomed Nancy Worden to Tucson to present her workshop “Cold Connections”.  Nancy earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington in 1977.  She continued her studies at the University of Georgia in Athens and received her MFA in 1980.  She has been making jewelry since 1972 and her pieces can be found in public and private collections in the United States and Europe. She has taught art classes at Central Washington University, Penland School of Crafts (www.penland.org), Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (www.haystack-mtn.org), and Pratt Fine Arts Center (www.pratt.org). She was named Distinguished Central Alum by Central Washington University in 2004 and received an Artist Trust Fellowship in 2005 (www.artisttrust.org/grants/recipient_profiles/FELL/05).  She now lives in Seattle where she teaches middle school, high school and college students and adults.  She says that it is a constant struggle to have the arts included in the K-12 education curriculum.

On Friday evening before the workshop Nancy presented a Visiting Artist Lecture at the TucsonNANCY WORDEN-02.jpgParks & Recreation - Randolph Complex.  She wore a unique necklace that she had made from dried oranges separated by oriental coins strung on a twisted cord.  She described her work as an examination of psychological limitations she has observed in her own life and the lives of others.  She said that her pieces are her way of navigating through the minefields of the fear of intimacy, the fear of change and the fear of conflict.

She presented a slide show of photos of her pieces which are often constructed of such items as old eyeglass lenses, clothespins, fishing weights, wine bottle corks, scraps of metal, shaving brushes and IBM Selectric typewriter balls.  It is impossible to view Nancy’s pieces without realizing that she is making a commentary on gender and politics.


On Saturday morning the “Cold Connections” workshop convened at the Pima College West Campus Metals Studio (www.pima.edu/west).  Nancy began the class with a PowerPoint presentation that featured several of the pieces she had shown on Friday evening.  She showed close-ups of the stack beads and described how she had drilled the components and joined them together with tube rivets. She described how to determine the length of the rivet and the technique for setting it.  She also discussed using commercial rivets with rounded heads.  In this photo we see Nancy modeling a bracelet she made from expired telephone cards and dice.


The rest of the day the students practiced using Nancy’s techniques to create stacked beads.  In this photo we see Jan working on a bead under Nancy’s watchful eye.

On Sunday Nancy set a goal for each student to spend the day designing a necklace using five to nine beads created using cold connections.  The photos below show some of the beads and necklaces the students created.

 Leslie showing off her necklace made from bamboo-handled Haik brushes. Lynda displaying her necklace made from spools of sewing thread. Cece modeling her necklace made from cardboard packing material and colored doorbell wire.

 Wendy's necklace is made of textured copper pieces riveted together. Beads Gail made from rubber stoppers, dimes, copper discs and steel washers. Jays necklaces. The upper one is corrugated copper beads, sewing machine bobbins wrapped with fibers and silver spacers.  The lower one is kitchen counter samples with copper rivets.

NANCY WORDEN-11.jpgHere are the three budding young artists that attended Nancy’s workshop.  Justen, on the left, is an MFA candidate at ASU.  He is modeling his necklace made from matches, dried papaya, matchbox strikers, almonds and a small bottle.  In the center is Lynette who is also an MFA candidate from ASU.  She is sporting her necklace constructed from pinecones, cinnamon sticks, corrugated cardboard, and slices of pine branches.  Michelle, on the right, is an Independent Jewelry Student of Charity Hall's at PCC. She is wearing her necklace made from various types of bottle caps, printed aluminum foil, plastic corncob holders and keys.  It was a pleasure to have these young people join us for this workshop and hope that they will return again soon.

At the end of the day everybody laid their necklaces out on the table so that they could share and admire each other’s creations.  It also gave Jeanne and Justen an opportunity to snap some pictures up close and personal.

A quote often heard was “It was a great weekend”.  Thank you Nancy for sharing your techniques with us and providing guidance in using them. A special thank you to Charity Hall who generously spent the whole weekend monitoring this workshop for Pima College. Also thanks to Trina Felty, Fine Arts Department Head who made our stay possible.

The photographs presented here are by Jorga Riggenbach, Jeanne Jerousek-McAninich and Lynette Andreason.  For more photos by Jorga and Jeanne from this and other workshops and Metalink presentations go to www.pbase.com/jar3531/adc08.  To see more of Lynette’s photos from Nancy’s workshop go to www.flickr.com/photos/lynetteandreasen/sets/72157614340474612/.

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