Diana Weymar: when embroidery provides catharsis – “desperate times, creative measures”

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Translated by Sabrina Pellegrini
Revision by Chiara Cordoni

Diana Weymar, artist and political activist, has launched an “artistic” protest against Trump: the President’s most controversial phrases, beautifully sewn on fabric, are becoming more and more popular in the United States and in other countries. Weymar’s goal is to collect 2020 items by the year 2020.

A protest against Trump, this is the common thread of Weymar’s creations.

Diana Weymar has created a project where the art of stitching becomes a way to protest against Trump in immortalizing many of the controversial statements that the irrepressible US President has been posting on his tweets.

Old fabrics are embroidered with Trump’s quotes on a variety of subjects, often misogynist comments about women, abortion, his recent disclosures about climate change, Greta Thunberg, carbon, RussiaGate, North Korea and Brett Kavanaugh – the Supreme Court Judge accused of sexual misconduct.

Donald Trump is known for his megalomaniacal use of Twitter, where his almost daily tweets are used to reinforce his political propaganda, to accuse his opponents, to fire his staff or silence who dares to criticize him, especially the journalists whom he despises most.

In the Unites States a protest is arising against this unconventional President who could even win a second election mandate – in 2020.

Among the many movements against Trump, one is particularly original as it is based on the art of embroidery. It originates from an idea of a Victoria, British Columbia (New York) based artist named Diana Weymar who says that she was inspired by President Trump’s (one tycoon’s) tweet published on January 6, 2018.

“I am a very stable genius,” he tweeted to defend himself from those who accused him of links with Russia and of being mentally unstable.  

Diana Weymar stitched the phrase on an old cloth which belonged to her grandmother, and went on to post her creation on Instagram, starting what is now known as “textile protest” which has rapidly spread all over the world.

This is probably the first form of “needle and thread” political protest of the second millennium, and it is called Tiny Pricks Project. The goal is to reach 2020 cloths featuring Trump’s comments, by 2020.

People from Italy, as from the rest of the world, are welcome to take part in this initiative following the indications on the artist’s  website https://tinypricksproject.com/participate/

The project of Weymar, an American activist and a mother of four, does not stop here. A twin project is being launched in Great Britain and will revolve around Boris Johnson’s statements.

All are welcome to join! The project ends when Trump is out of office. To follow on Instagram @tinypricksproject @dianaweymar and on FB  https://www.facebook.com/pg/tinypricksproject

www.tinyprickproject.com

Has any needlework been published about the latest international crises generated by the Turkish invasion of Syria?

Yes. Sadly. There are pieces made almost immediately after important events like this one. 

What are the most recurring themes that have been stitched into the fabrics, apart from the women’s issues we’ve been reading about in other articles?

Trump’s boasting. Quotes about his wealth, IG, looks, fame, and abilities.

Is there a particular motto for your project? How about “Desperate Times Call For Desperate Creativity”?

Very close: desperate times, creative measures 

How many decorated fabrics have you collected up to now?

There are over 2050 pieces in the collection. 

Do they come from all over the world?

Mostly the US and Canada but also other countries! 

Which states in America and in the rest of the world mostly contribute to Tiny Pricks Project?

States: California, NY, Maine, Massachusetts. Countries: UK, Canada, New Zealand. Australia.   

What are your favorite embroideries that most helped ease your anger against Trump?

That’s a great question. It’s mostly the process that provides a catharsis, not the product. For example, he says something offensive and/or ridiculous, I stitch it, and then I can more easily move on to the thinking about policy, impact, and the rest of my day. The other part of it that provides great joy is getting pieces in the mail. Both the making and the receiving are joyful experiences in spite of the other feelings his quotes inspire. 

How can someone take part in the project from other countries? Do they have to ship their embroideries? Do you accept phrases in Italian?

I would LOVE pieces in Italian. I don’t think anyone would be confused and think that he can speak Italian! Yes, many other countries have participated. Everyone mails their pieces to me. 

Mrs. Weymar, is your political activity combined with the artistic one, an incentive for your own work and what other political battles have you staged with your art?

This is my 4th public project and 3rd international project. I’ve presented projects with Build Peace in Nicosia, Bogota, Zurich, and Belfast. I have done series addressing the Ebola crisis and other humanitarian issues. This is, by far, the largest and most embattled project. These are very difficult times domestically. 

Is there any other artist and/or activist who inspired you or who has become your reference point?

Ann Hamilton. Louise Bourgeois. The AIDS quilt. Krista Tippet (podcast On Being). Wendy MacNaughton and Lisa Congdon. Subversive CrossStitch and Badasscrossstitch. 

How can someone take part in the project from other countries? Do they have to ship their embroideries? Do you accept phrases in Italian?

I would LOVE pieces in Italian. I don’t think anyone would be confused and think that he can speak Italian! Yes, many other countries have participated. Everyone mails their pieces to me. 

Mrs. Weymar, is your political activity combined with the artistic one, an incentive for your own work and what other political battles have you staged with your art?

This is my 4th public project and 3rd international project. I’ve presented projects with Build Peace in Nicosia, Bogota, Zurich, and Belfast. I have done series addressing the Ebola crisis and other humanitarian issues. This is, by far, the largest and most embattled project. These are very difficult times domestically. 

Is there any other artist and/or activist who inspired you or who has become your reference point?

Ann Hamilton. Louise Bourgeois. The AIDS quilt. Krista Tippet (podcast On Being). Wendy MacNaughton and Lisa Congdon. Subversive CrossStitch and Badasscrossstitch. 

Can you tell us your story? Have you heard of any other form of needlework protest?

There are many pieces on my website under “Press” in which I share stories about myself. In the podcast with Lisa Birnbach I share some stories. I am aware of some needlework protests but not exactly like this. There are common elements with other aspects of needlework and protest. 

Is there a particular protest issue that strikes you the most?

Climate change. Without a planet, we’re lost. 

Can you summarize your story for us?

I assume you mean the project, not my personal story. Impossible to summarize the former! Tiny Pricks is a grassroots political protest project that promotes discourse, a craft-based practice and activism. 

Are you planning other projects?
Not yet. I’m deeply engaged in this one. 

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