The May 13 PAW cover is unlike any other the Princeton Alumni Weekly has produced in its long history: an embroidered collage of campus buildings surrounded by a surgical face mask.
Stitched by textile artist and curator Diana Buri Weymar ’91, it introduces the magazine’s feature on how alumni artists are coping with the pandemic, but captures a poignancy in the interplay of Princeton connections and the sense of where we are in the world today.
“How can we stick to our true colors but use the materials at hand?” Weymar asked. “The buildings pictured give a sense of history, but the mask, a sense of the crisis — because it’s not just what doctors are wearing, but what we’re all wearing.”
Weymar, profiled in January in the PAW, had discussed working with PAW editors on a project at the beginning of the year, but nothing was firm. Then news stories surfaced about Erik Osborn ’90, with whom Weymar had a personal connection. (He introduced her to her husband, Matthew Weymar ’90). Osborn, a pulmonologist, had served in Iran and Afghanistan and was now on the frontlines again, treating patients with COVID-19.
With PAW editors, “We talked about how to capture this specific moment, how to be about Princeton but also the larger community,” Weymar said. “If anyone saw the cover, we wanted them to understand that it was not just about coming back, but about being out in the world.”
As she stitched, the project became more emotional. “I went from excited to feeling pressured to do it well,” she said.
To meet the deadline of sending the work to Brooklyn to be photographed, Weymar stitched constantly for four days straight, allowing others in her British Columbia household to cook and clean while she kept her needle nimble.
The result is in keeping with Weymar’s artistic thread of stitching community together as she creates art. Her current project involves embroidered quotes from President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. It started with her posting her own work online and now includes more than 3,000 submissions from others. “A lot of people have turned to stitching since we can’t do what we used to do,” Weymar said.
Read more of the May 13, issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly here.