A friend gave me this vacuum cleaner and I looked at a while and decided the only part I could touch was the bag. But the bag was made of cloth. So I thought about making a new bag out of some sort of material but then it seemed so wrong because the original bag is the original bag and that bag is made of people. That bag has vacuumed up bits of lives which I will never know about and which I respect. That's the beauty of found objects - the secrets they hold and the lives they have witnessed. I cleaned out the bag but I felt bad about it. It seemed that I should leave all the secrets intact. But I believe that the most tenacious bits of the lives that this sweet vacuum cleaner held remain. Like the sole survivors.

I stuffed the cloth bag with carefully selected pages of newspaper - no sports or bad news, mostly arts listings and local events - and covered it with layers of fiberglass and resin. Every morning by 7 AM I had wheeled my cart out to the alley where I spent the days with my super double-barrelled respirator. When it was strong enough I got out my sander and went at it till it was smooth. And only then did I begin the process of gluing the glass. I grouted it with a grey grout but the color was all wrong and it lost contrast and the beautiful wrinkles disappeared. So then I spent a few days with my drill, carefully drilling down the grout to make room for a new color. passersby all suggested white so I grouted it white and the wrinkles became more visible. It took 7 groutings in all to make it perfect and get around all the wrinkles. I built up precarious edges with tiny screws. Then the part ofthe bag that aached to the base weakend so I pulled out the hose support and built a bondo ring attachment set up. I got to use my sander again. I kept the original clip but replaced the spring that holds it to the handle. I shined up the metal and left the rest intact and in its orginal state.






Premier Grand Vacuum Cleaner, Fiberglass, resin, Tempered Glass, Stain, Sanded Grout, Bondo
49" X 19" X 14"

Photo by the most fabulous Shelley Lake.

The base, before polishing. The rest of the photos are by me and my little old obsolete, half-funtioning camera.

  The cloth bag covered with fiberglass before gluing, in the alley. Partially glued, in my alley studio. More glued, inside my real studio. Detal of gluedness.