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This spring season, Peeps get political

What started as a sweet springtime hobby for a local PR pro has morphed into a year-round passion project, featuring Peeps and politics.

Barbara Martin hasn’t slept in weeks.

These days, the public relations pro’s hands are stained with red clay; her fingertips are splattered with paint; and her Bethesda, Maryland, home is overrun with piles of craft supplies and boxes of brightly hued, sugarcoated marshmallows.

“I look like I should be on a TLC drama about hoarders,” she said.

Martin is in the final stretch of what’s become an annual springtime passion project of hers: building Peeps dioramas. Unbeknown to some, constructing three-dimensional scenes starring the popular Easter candy is a thing — especially in the D.C. area, where for several years The Washington Post ran a Peeps diorama contest. (The District’s alternative weekly, Washington City Paper, now carries the torch on the creative challenge.)

Martin, the co-founder and co-CEO of The Brand Guild, started building Peeps dioramas in 2013 as a way to profile her clients on Instagram. Her first scene, which took months to build, depicted an exact replica of the hairstyling salon Dry Bar. Her second was of SoulCycle, specifically Michelle Obama spinning alongside her Secret Service detail. Both were submitted to The Post’s contest, but neither won.

“Highway robbery,” Martin said about her losses.

 

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It didn’t matter, she was hooked, and each year she built more dioramas to promote her clients on social media. The Wharf’s Pearl Street Warehouse has a Peep Street Warehouse; there’s also an &peepza. This year, however, Martin has expanded her Peeps art to include a new focus: politics. And she showcases these scenes on the Instagram handle We The Peeple.

“After the Women’s March two years ago, I reserved the handle and did a couple of dioramas just out of frustration and the need to do something,” Martin said.

“And then this spring, I was just so inspired by the State of the Union — just all those women in white. It became such a moment for so many people, including myself, so I decided to make it. And then from there it just kept going.”

The diorama detailing the State of the Union shows bunny Peeps of all different colors (pink, blue, purple and yellow) dressed in white. Embroidery thread is styled on top of their heads; clay glasses and buttons accessorize their outfits. Behind them are white-painted chick Peeps, dressed in suits and ties. There’s also a Nancy Peeplosi, modeling the famous extended-arm clap that took social media by storm.

 

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On We The Peeple, Martin has also constructed an Obama-era White House Kitchen Garden diorama, and one of the four female justices of the Supreme Court. Then, there’s the Peep Buttigieg diorama, which caught the attention of the presidential hopeful and garnered more than 50,000 likes on Twitter.

 

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With both Peeps projects happening this year — We the Peeple and dioramas for her agency’s clients — Martin estimates she has been through about 15 boxes of Peeps in the last few weeks. She is also making daily runs to the craft store for supplies, and spending hours juggling sugar and a hot glue gun on the weekends.

When Easter is over, Martin said she wants to continue making scenes for We the Peeple throughout the year — but she may scale back to just one a week, instead of multiple dioramas each day.

Don’t worry: Peeps can be ordered in bulk, even in the offseason.

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