Should any of y’all find yourselves near Doylestown, Penn., in the coming weeks, carve out a few hours to check out “From Swords to Ploughshares” at the James A. Michener Art Museum. The exhibit features 300 pieces of “trench art”—that is, baubles produced by 20th-century soldiers as they awaited their ghastly fates. Most of the gems come from World War I, and are cobbled out of empty shells, mustard-gas canisters, and whatever else the poor blokes could get their hands on. There’s something strangely heartening about these artworks—they’re a testament to mankind’s knack for creating pockets of sanity amidst the bloodiest chaos imaginable.
The Austro-Hungarian bullet sculpture atop this post comes from the collection of Gary Hollingsworth, the Orlando-based trench-art enthusiast who’s providing all the “From Swords to Ploughshares” goodies. More on his curious obsession here. Like so many great enterprises, it all started with a vacation in Budapest.