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The Cuffs of Diplomacy
The Cuffs of Diplomacy concept and execution have
taken several years to bring to fruition; product inventories were exhausted
with some of the amethyst or mother of pearl bead cuts and sizes and even
after contacting no less than twenty or so North American bead dealers,
including contacts with a Jaipur and a Honk Kong bead cutting company,
contracting custom cut beads-the products delivered were a complete
disappointment-some of the beads were impossible to find. The requisite
inventory was finally acquired in 2007 and the set was able to be completed
in January of 2008.
This page includes the digital sketches conceived in Minnesota in
addition to the final bead cuffs.
The symbolics behind the set depicts in minimalist language the
instances or stages of diplomacy. The initial diplomatic contact reality
with the other diplomatic party is normally a somber one, or at least one
illustrated by a past history of menacing silence or even war, as one or
another party refuses to engage in dialogue.
Agreeing to meet to attempt dialogue generates hope, and in the
cases of a successful outcome to the diplomatic initiative, full dialogue is
achieved, begetting solutions and even a working peace. All persons and
things benefit if not rejoice at the reestablishment of accord and peace.
This is the inspiration behind the cuff set, conceptually centered
on an historically Iroquois method of diplomatic communication through the
The materials used in this set include amethyst, an occasional
fluorite-it replicates nicely the striation found on the quahog clam-mother
of pearl, antique European-made Gumbah trade beads used for many years by
members of the Maasai tribe of Kenya and likewise traded with various Native
American tribes by European or American traders, white deer skin and
synthetic sinew. To give the cuffs an older look, the beads and leather of
the entire set was lightly swabbed with a blackening made from charred cedar
and gum arabic. Each piece was beaded using white gloves to protect the red
raw silk liners from being soiled. No staining touched the silk.
Beautiful 2mm beads of Sleeping Beauty turquoise are integrated into
the seventh cuff, the Cuff of Great Peace.