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From Swords to Plowshares: Metal Trench Art from World War I
May 28, 2017 - June 30, 2017Free
A new exhibit, “From Swords to Plowshares: Metal Trench Art from World War I” is located at 201 N. Main St, Belton. Members opening will be 5-7 p.m. Bell County is the first Texas showing of “Swords to Plowshares,” a large exhibit of 164 pieces plus five period posters showing objects made from the debris and by-products of modern warfare.
Trench art from the following countries is featured in this exhibition: United States, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Australia, Belgium and Czechoslovakia. The craftsmanship ranges from simple and amateurish to skilled. The variety of objects amazes — jewelry, cigarette lighters and ashtrays, letter openers, crucifixes, eating utensils, clocks, swagger sticks, model airplanes and oil lamps.
Makers of trench art utilized artillery shells, bullets, shrapnel, aircraft parts, currency and other miscellaneous metal scrap and applied materials. Thus, pieces also show an amazing variety of styles, cultures, religious faiths and craftsmanship. If the soldiers were fortunate enough to find paint, they painted flowers, birds and landscapes on everything, including helmets.
“The ingenuity and skill ranged from primitive artillery shell vases to elaborate lamps, cigarette lighters and ashtrays exhibiting high artistic craftsmanship. The captivating decorative appeal of trench art often reflected stylistic influences of the time, such as Art Nouveau. Often folk art designs with elaborate engraving and repoussé work were incorporated,” said Coleman Hampton, the museum’s executive director.