Creativity can’t be stopped, even in the worst of conditions. Such was the case during World War One when soldiers and sailors used materials they had nearby to create art.
Available materials included shell casing, melted shrapnel, fabric, wood and bone.
Despite the name, trench art wasn’t just produced in the trenches. It also was produced on ships, in the air force, in prisoner of war camps and in hospitals. Some artwork was made by civilians living near warzones, and some was even mass produced using war materials.
These works of art are valuable finds today. Many didn’t survive the metal drives of World War Two.
The reasons men created art varied. Sometimes it was to alleviate boredom, but often there was a larger reason such as to make gifts for loved ones back home, as a means of commemorating an important battle or as therapy while in a convalescent hospital.
Art that was mass produced was usually made after the war as souvenirs for tourists.
Civilians produced art for sale or for thank-you gifts.
What Did They Make?
The artists crafted a variety of things including models of weapons, jewelry, cups, tapestries, crucifixes, and containers.
Here are some examples of trench art that can be found in collections around the world.
Have you ever seen trench art? Leave a comment below.
Enjoyed reading this post? Join the mailing list and receive updates in your inbox whenever a new post is published. Simply enter your email address in the form on the bottom right of this page.
Latest posts by Melina Druga (see all)
- Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front - September 26, 2017
- The Committee on Public Information - August 28, 2017
- World War I Led to Prohibition - August 14, 2017