When Victoria artist Diana Weymar started hand-stitching the words of U.S. President Donald Trump onto textiles in early 2018, she had no idea she was starting a collection that would attract submissions from people around the world.
What started as a personal act of protest has grown into a collection of more than 1,200 pieces mailed to Weymar by people from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia, all featuring a quotation from the 45th president of the United States.
Weymar curates the collection, called the Tiny Pricks Project, on an Instagram page by the same name.
She encourages people to find textiles to repurpose for the project. Trump’s words are stitched onto napkins, doilies and vintage handkerchiefs, the phrases stitched around images of children playing, colourful clowns and cartoonish animals.
On a submission recently posted to the project’s Instagram page, red and black threads spell the words: “It was also a small apology for testing the short range missiles...” around a puppy wearing a green beret.
Some people take their work a step further, stitching their own images of the president. One person is currently working on a series of handmade ties onto which she will stitch quotations.
Weymar started the collection on Jan. 8, 2018, when she stitched “I am a very stable genius” into a piece of her grandmother’s needlework.
She thought she would stitch one piece a week during Trump’s four years in the Oval Office. But when she started doing her research to find quotations, she found no end to potential material.
“I thought that as time went by, things would change. He wouldn’t say these ridiculous things anymore. He wouldn’t tweet as many ridiculous things. I really thought he would become more presidential,” she says.
“I had no idea he would continue to be so unhinged, essentially.”
She’s now stitching daily, and has created more than 400 pieces.
Weymar says it can be overwhelming at times to keep up with the project and sometimes the work brings her mood down.
“It’s a lot to stay present with all the time.”
But she is excited by the passion and commitment of people who contribute to the project, and has no plans to slow down. Her goal is to have 2,020 pieces in the collection by 2020.
In collaboration with Rachelle Hruska MacPherson, Weymar opened a show in New York City featuring pieces from the project. MacPherson is the founder of Lingua Franca, a line of cashmere sweaters handstitched with political messages.
MacPherson’s sweaters features phrases including: “I miss Obama”, “The future is female”, and “Nevertheless, she persisted”.
Although Weymar’s work has gone international, her roots are local. She started stitching after taking a course at the Vancouver Island School of Art in 2013. She created her first public art project for the Victoria Festival of Authors.
The banner, adorned with the titles of books featured at the festival, didn’t find the success her current project has. Weymar stitched the book titles and invited people attending the festival to contribute to the banner. She found people were hesitant to stitch on the spot, and realized people needed space to create on their own terms. It was a lesson she took to heart for her next projects.
Weymar has also started a U.K. version of the Tiny Pricks Project that’s dedicated to capturing the words of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“Trump is not alone is saying and doing outrageous things.”