In the trenches of World War I, there was a lot of boredom, idleness, and malaise, punctuated by brief stretches of terrible violence and death. Out of the former came what’s come to be known as “trench art”: handcrafted art made from available battlefield materials – such as spent artillery cases. There is a group on Flickr dedicated to collecting images of trench art, and some of its contents are really stunning to look at:
Trench art was by no means made just by soldiers – nor is it restricted only to World War I. “Trench art” has come to mean any art produced in connection to an armed conflict. It’s difficult to tell which pieces might have been made in the field by a combatant, and which were probably made after the fact, or as commemoratives by enterprising civilians. Nevertheless, trench art is beautiful in a unique way, and for me these pieces act as a sort of time capsule into the lives of people from history in very different way than other historical artifacts.