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Diane Chaat Smith, Red Tail Handbags, is a Comanche artist working beadwork in deer and elk skin handmade bags and purses. Born in the Panhandle of Texas, and raised outside Washington, DC and Cleveland, Ohio, she moved to the Southwest to study at the Institute of American Indian Arts here in Santa Fe. Diane graduated with an associate fine arts degree in traditional arts in 1979.

After a 10 year break from the arts, she picked up beadwork again and made a pair of guitar straps just because. Fortune brought Jake Strongbow into her life in 1993, and upon seeing the guitar straps, he made a business offer to produce leather garments and accessories for her to bead. Diane designs the style of each handmade bag. Then Diane and Jake work together to choose the right natural edge for the flap of the bag.

Together, Diane and Jake have traveled to many art shows and pow wows in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. They have shown their elk leather and deer skin handbags, featuring Diane’s beautiful beadwork, at many juried shows including the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis and the Red Earth Festival in Oklahoma City.

Currently living and taking care of family in Oklahoma, Diane continues to bead handmade bags for Tom Taylor Belts | Buckles | Bags and more traditional pieces for other venues.

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