Swords into ploughshares, indeed.
August 17, 2007 12:51 PM   Subscribe

Church chandeliers made from bullet casings and cannon parts Until today I'd never heard of trench art. From the second link: Pieces described as ‘trench art’ have the following distinctly different origins: 1. War souvenirs collected by soldiers or non-combatants during the war and during the demobilization period and modified in some way to serve as a remembrance of the war. 2. Souvenirs crafted by soldiers during the war. 3. Souvenirs made for sale to soldiers by other soldiers or civilians during the war. 4. Souvenirs made by prisoners of war in exchange for food, cigarettes or money. 5. Mementoes of the war made by convalescent soldiers. 6. Post-war souvenirs made for tourists visiting the battlefields. 7. Post-war souvenirs made by commercial firms in ‘trench-art style’.
posted by SassHat (11 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My great-grandfather was a POW in WWI and made a few etched shell-casings [like this but etched] during his imprisonment. They're still in my family somewhere. I need to track down who has them. Good post SassHat.

Admins, extraneous apostrophe in the URL of the second link borks it...
posted by sciurus at 1:06 PM on August 17, 2007

posted by cortex at 1:14 PM on August 17, 2007

Funny, because I recall reading somewhere that lead in stained glass windows had been stripped for use in ammunition … WW1 probably.
posted by parhamr at 1:19 PM on August 17, 2007

I've heard that those Indian guys selling brass animals on the street in NYC are making use of all the shell casing that littered the sub-continent.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:24 PM on August 17, 2007

I wear one of these (WWI - great, great grandfathers) every day.
posted by blaneyphoto at 1:25 PM on August 17, 2007

How trenchant.
posted by Floydd at 1:29 PM on August 17, 2007

Oh, rad. I have a WWII-era ashtray that my grandfather made out of some bullets and artillery shells, but it never occurred to me that people might have made such huge and impressive things as say, that chandelier. Keen.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:36 PM on August 17, 2007

My landlord has a small plane sculpture crafted largely from bullet casings.
posted by The Confessor at 1:36 PM on August 17, 2007

Excellent post, SassHat - some of these works are the best of the art. I like the idea of turning military hardware into useful or beautiful things. I would imagine for vets or survivors, these items may well have a high emotional quotient.

We are starting to see some contemporary versions of arms into art too. I like the furniture from weapons in the Cambodian Peace Art Project, although the site itself appears to be down. And you can always find some interesting trench art objects on e-bay, although none as spectacular as the examples in your links.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:45 PM on August 17, 2007

So cool. The most I ever made was a whistle out of an old shell case. This stuff is fantastic.
posted by quin at 3:25 PM on August 17, 2007

Medical arts in a trench.
posted by Mblue at 3:43 PM on August 17, 2007

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