Dorian Webb Pays Homage to BLM with Inspiring Cuff Bracelet of Hope

A well-respected and indisputably talented African American designer, Dorian Webb has been about the business of handcrafting unique jewelry and houseware since her junior year at Yale University. Her most recent creation, a cuff bracelet, pays homage to the Black Lives Matter movement. Characteristically bold and seemingly taking flight, the beautiful piece dutifully represents a symbol of hope.

Webb spoke to Rolling Out about her newest piece of art, among other things.

What inspired you to create the BLM cuff?

I have wanted to do something to support this important movement for a while. I think because the subject was such a personal one for me it took a longer time to release it into the world. When I won a grant from the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce for pandemic relief, I earmarked those funds to develop the idea of the cuff. It seemed fitting.

Why did you choose the butterfly as a symbol?

For me, the butterfly is a symbol of unbridled hope and fabulousness. I first started to use it in a fundraising cuff for the last election. Long recognized as a symbol of metamorphosis, butterflies intrigue me, not for the arduous transformation they undergo, but instead for being the glorious creatures they defiantly are. That, to me, is the ultimate symbol of hope: Fiercely believing in the existence of our beautiful wings before they are visible to anyone else.

How does this cuff tie into your evolution as a designer?

I have been designing jewelry for almost 30 years now. While I still absolutely creating pieces that encourage women to see themselves as the magnificent people they are, I think that … everyone has the opportunity and the responsibility to affect the change they want to see. No one can define for you what that looks like. For me, being a force for change meant designing a piece that would draw people in and invite a discussion. It is not a statement piece, but a conversation piece.

The undulating ribbon has meaning. Its movement, similar to that of a flag proudly waving in the air, feels particularly American. And the script I chose and had it engraved by hand into the rippling ribbon was selected for a reason. I wanted it to evoke the feeling of the Constitution, the document that is supposed to grant us all inalienable rights. Clearly, those rights were meant for a specific few, but by all rights, should have equally included African Americans. While Black Lives Matter is a powerful movement that is now helping to push back against systemic racism, I think that the concept of Black lives mattering is one that should have always been honored. The ribbon is a testament to that.

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