Day 334 Clutter as Art

A guest post by my hubby Steve

In 1998, UK artist Tracey Emin unveiled My Bed, literally her unmade bed and the crap that lay on and around it. By presenting her bed as art she became famous, some may say infamous, as one of Britain’s great contemporary artists.

Well, you do not have to be infamous to use the excess stuff in your home to create an artistic expression that can either become a focal point in your home or sold. Here are two examples:

Steam punk ray gun

I have an old hand wood drill that sat unused in my tool chest for nearly 30 years, sentimental clutter because it belonged to a family friend. It failed to sell on eBay and I earmarked it for the donation bin when I renewed my association with steam punk. Steam punks develop alternate technologies that could have evolved in the Victorian aesthetic, and many create futuristic weapons (ray guns if you like) of a different past. So I dismantled the drill, added pistol grip fashioned from an old wood plane, and some wiring to create the IXLAN Thermal Disrupter. I also created a back story for the weapon, and it will eventually be for sale on Etsy.

IXLON Thermal Disrupter

IXLON Thermal Disrupter

Steroids in Baseball

Invigorated by my first art project, I took at look at the donate pile and decided I could create a new piece with some 5″ x 7″ gold baseball cards. I chose four cards; Alex Rodriquez, Jason Giambi and Mark McGwire who all admit using steroids during their careers, and Ken Griffey Jr whose stellar career is untainted by juicing.

I printed part of the statements made by the first three players onto vellum and affixed it to their cards to symbolise the cloud or murk that obscures their baseball achievements because of steroid use. Assembled together on a backing board, Griffey’s card reflects his shining example of baseball prowess, a career that will undoubtedly lead to his enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Steroids in Baseball

Steroids in Baseball

Be an artist!

Turning clutter into art is immensely satisfying, the act of making something is good for the soul, and remind us that everything does not have to be disposable, even if its originator made it that way.

What could you make?

Something cool like a ray gun or a social statement on an important issue is lurking in the garage or under your bed. Post a photo of your creation on our Facebook page.

Item 334 of 365 less things

Just another item we no longer need which we donated to the thrift store.
Tool Box

5 Things I am grateful for today

  1. A cup of tea in bed to start the day – My husband has been doing this quite often lately and I hope he plans on making a habit of it.
  2. Plants that thrive on neglect – They are the only type that survive in my garden and are even better value when they pop up from nowhere and start baring fruit.
  3. My mother teaching me to cook while I was growing up.
  4. No gift giving at the Christmas party with my old work mates last night.
  5. Every day I am grateful that Liam is doing so well.
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About Steve

Steve writes occasional posts for 365 Less Things and is Colleen's husband, web designer and tech support.


  1. I LOVE the IXLON Thermal Disruptor!!!!!! It’s a creation after my own heart, as I used to make assemblages for many years and they still fascinate me.

    The news re Liam is so heartening and that’s probably the best Christmas present you could ask for ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Meg, I started and abandoned that project a dozen times before I knuckled down to finish last week.
      Liam’s health is apparently the only present I get this year so I’m glad it is a good one.

  2. Great ideas. I have done this. My mother’s salad dressing comes in glass bottles that we have turned into vases, after sterilizing new bottles for liquid food gifts, etc. I also do this with other things we no longer have use for. I am amazed at some of the things people buy like this. It’s fun to find uses for clutter.

  3. I’d encourage readers to check out the link if you’re not familiar with steampunk – there are so many aspects to it. As the linked site says, steampunk is a genre AND a design aesthetic AND a philosophy.

    Very cool!

    • Steam punk has so many aspects it is difficult to define but it definitely harks back to a time when repairing and making discouraged mass consumption. Check out Dr Steel on Youtube for a very unique take on steam punk.

  4. Great creativity Steve. My repurposing is of a more obvious nature: lace trimmed handkerchiefs became lace trimmed napkins for the girls’ lunchboxes, for example. But my friend Holly can make anything from anything. One of her more impressive creations is a fancy cake plate made from a small plate, a dinner plate, and an egg cup. She glued them together with the small plate upside down on the bottom, then the egg cup, then the dinner plate on top. She’s also a whiz with a can a spray paint.

    • Thanks Cindy, whether you create a practical item or art like I have here, the point is to develop our senses to see opportunities to use the stuff we have or that others cannot use.

  5. Does taking old sweaters and making them in to bags count? Or unraveling an unwanted sweater and reknitting it in to a new much loved sweater?

    LOVE the futuristic gun ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m NOT letting my husband see it.

  6. You’re so creative!