Friday, July 26, 2013

Tacoma's Jewel Box

Nestled in the heart of Tacoma Art Museum is one of the best public art jewelry collections on the West Coast.  It all started in 1997 when TAM  produced a retrospective of Ken Cory's artwork,  entitled, Play Disguised: The Jewelry of Ken Cory.  At that time Ken's family gifted a large group of his work to the museum, including this belt buckle from 1975, entitled Autumn Sunset (aka Candy Corn).  
  When TAM  made the commitment to collect jewelry made by Northwest artists,  a local collector made a generous contribution to endow a jewelry purchase fund in honor of well-known jewelry artist, Ramona Solberg.  Gifts began to flow in and now the collection has 200 pieces, including promised gifts.  With so many jewelry artists in the region, it was time for a regional museum to collect this work.

The collection Also includes jewelry by nationally known artists who have influenced the jewelers in our region, like this beautiful gold and silver brooch with rutilated quartz by Eleanor Moty from 1992,  called Torsion Brooch.   

What is really cool about this collection is that a lot of it is accessible.  When you get off the elevator from the parking lot, the first thing you see is a display case with art jewelry. Then, wander up the ramp to the galleries, where there is a special gallery just for jewelry with open storage. Open storage refers to the cases, custom built for the collection, with special display drawers that the public is invited to open and view more jewelry. Every drawer offers new delights, a little voyeuristic adventure like snooping through somebody's closet. Come to Tacoma and snoop!
Nancy Worden 2004, Frozen Dreams Necklace on stand