Throughout the pandemic we’ve been regaled with stories about new hobbies people picked up to while away some of those long hours being spent at home:
Many of those hobbies were unsurprising – reading, baking, cooking, gardening, mediation, writing.
There was also an interest in the surprising hobbies people started, and it became something of a contest to see who could outdo whom:
Similar articles listed suggestions including “disinfecting your collection of pens,” “alphabetizing your underwear” and, “listing everything you hate about Justin Bieber” (pictured), and invited readers to share their new, weird pandemic hobbies.
But the pandemic hobby I want to talk about is one I recently read about, and I think it’s a story that should have gotten a lot more attention.
Not only because of what the hobby is, but because of who is doing it:
Now, before you think this “dad” is some whack job doing unspeakable things with his vacuum – he isn’t.
He’s creating vacuum art:
Yes, that’s Trump. An unfortunate choice of subject, but masterfully executed.
The dad is Tom Quirk, 36, a farrier – that is, a specialist in equine hoof care – in the Forest of Dean, located in the in the western part of the county of Gloucestershire, England.
Here’s Tom with his trusty vacuum:
Here’s more of his art. Tom started with patterns:
After that, there was no holding him back:
I think Tom’s vacuum art shows real creativity. And think of the money he’s saving on paint and brushes and canvases! Create the work, take a picture, enjoy it, then just smooth it out and start over.
But the reason I think Tom’s story is particularly noteworthy?
Let’s go back to Tom’s picture:
This is a man holding a vacuum.
He’s holding it correctly.
He is no stranger to vacuums, or vacuuming:
“…my wife was working all day. I was getting on with the housework and noticed how the lines showed up really well when vacuuming with our Shark vacuum.”
Tom was “getting on with the housework.”
Housework sounds like a normal, unremarkable part of his life.
But I think it’s worth remarking on, especially since there are so many articles about men not doing housework, including this – not from 50 years ago but just a few weeks ago:
Though I’d challenge the author on his phraseology. “Help around the house” implies that housework is the female’s job, and the man should be helping her with it.
My premise is simple:
You live here, you clean here.
Housework is the job of everyone who inhabits the house.
Tom Quirk knows it.
Here’s how his vacuum art began:
“It started a couple of years ago when I went to Dunelm and bought a new rug.”
Tom was doing his vacuuming and…
“I started just doing stripes then it kind of escalated from there, the following weekend I did curves, followed by different patterns and then a random one of the Silverstone F1 circuit as it was the British grand prix weekend. From there I decided to have a go at famous faces…
“You have to hoover the rug all over in just one direction first so it gives you an all-over light image.”
I love how he uses “hoover” as a verb. So very British!
I also love that Tom not only knows his way around a vacuum, he knows vacuum attachments:
“Then I remove the hose and add the thin attachment to the end and drag the long fibres the opposite direction to get the shadows of faces.”
“Fibres.” Again, so very British!
And so very creative. Have you ever been vacuuming and suddenly had a vision that the vacuum tracks could form a face? A recognizable face?
My vision is abandoning the vacuuming and pouring a glass of wine.
Tom even compared creating his art to Da Vinci’s process – though only in terms of time:
“It normally takes me about 15 to 20 minutes, which isn’t bad considering it took Leonardo Da Vinci four years to do the Mona Lisa.”
I love his quirky sense of humor.
(You know I had to say that.)
I found lamentably few online stories about Tom’s artistic endeavors (endeavours if you’re British), so I went online to see if anyone else was creating vacuum art.
I found no one.
But don’t despair.
Tom did mention he has dogs.
And Tom did that image of Trump.
And that inspired me to create vacuum art of my own: