Nancy Lee Worden, internationally known artist, teacher, feminist and devoted mother, died at home on February 17th, 2021. She was born in Boston, MA in 1954 to Phillip Worden and Eva Lillian Worden (later Canzler). Her family moved around until she, her mother and sister Linda settled in Ellensburg, WA in the mid 1960's.
Nancy discovered her deep love of jewelry making while in high school and pursued it her entire life. After receiving her BA from Central Washington University, she earned her MFA from the University of Georgia in 1980. Nancy eventually moved to Seattle where she became a very active member of the metal arts community.
Nancy was a member of the Seattle Metals Guild, Society of North American Goldsmiths, American Crafts Council and the Democratic Party. Her work is known for weaving together a female narrative with twentieth century American artifacts. Nancy's work has been exhibited internationally and is represented in many permanent collections of museums around the U.S. and Europe, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Nancy's loyalty to home was very important to her and she was committed to supporting Pacific Northwest artists. Nancy was a teaching artist for the Washington State Arts Commission, which propelled her into middle school classrooms, spreading the gift of metalworking to kids around the state. Nancy was instrumental in the Seattle Metals Guild's "Passing The Torch" exhibit for Washington State high school metals students. She received two awards from Artist Trust in addition to her fellowship.
Nancy lived with ALS for over a decade. She contributed to finding a treatment by participating in the drug trial at the ACTRI in San Diego, and made over fifty trips to participate in the research while continuing her creative work.
Nancy was a focused and unstoppable force of nature. She was not afraid to imagine and realize big dreams. She cared passionately and completely about everything she did. Her strength and her passion lives on in the power of her work. She is survived by her husband Will Reed and daughter Avery Reed. Nancy died in her sleep and we hope she has transitioned to a place where she is dancing.
Nancy established the Minerva Scholarship at the CWU Department of Art + Design as an inspiration to talented, young artists.
Published in The Daily Record from Mar. 3 to Mar. 6, 2021.