There’s a lot to see and do in Cleveland this week as the Republican National Convention gets underway.
For many, that includes stopping by artist Sandy Buffie’s downtown studio, where you can take selfies with a replica of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump made entirely of dryer lint.
“Hundreds of people have stopped in,” said Buffie, whose studio and showroom, Sandy Buffie Designs, is located inside the Fifth Street Arcades, just steps from the convention.
“People have just been coming in and taking pictures all morning,” she said.
It probably helped that Buffie placed a welcome sign outside her shop inviting visitors to get up close and personal with the lint lookalike.
Buffie, who has used lint as a medium for 20 years, began working on the model back in April after putting a call out on social media to her devoted fans for any and all lint contributions.
After collecting 30 gallons of the fibrous material, Buffie diligently went to work.
First, she constructed the model’s frame from chicken wire and an old gallon milk jug. Then, she meticulously glued lint onto the frame, layer after layer, until the likeness was ideal. Finally, she applied the paint to complete the project.
“After it’s all dried, I paint it with acrylic paint, so I can get the flesh really accurate,” she said. In Trump’s case, the tone was “a little bit orange,” she quipped.
As for replicating Trump’s hairdo, lint was suitable for mirroring his fluffy mop.
“It’s perfect for hair,” she said.
Buffie saw the project, given the influx in foot traffic from the nearly week-long event, as an opportunity to raise money for a good cause. She said she’s giving the one-of-a-kind lint-Trump to the highest bidder at auction, and plans to donate the proceeds to The Center for Arts Inspired Learning, an organization that promotes creativity through the arts for children.
Buffie, who has made lint replicas of LeBron James and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, said she hasn’t decided who she’ll vote for come November. But the project isn’t a political statement — she would have made one of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had the Democratic convention been in Cleveland.
“It’s just a cool piece of art,” she said. “Hopefully, someone will come in and say, ‘This is fabulous!’ and say, ‘Here’s $10,000.’”