According to Wikipedia there were four main categories of trench art: soldier made items; prisoner or POW items; civilian items and commercial items. Around since the Napoleonic war items were also sometimes traded for food, money or privileges.
Wounded soldiers recuperating away from the battlefields were encouraged to do craftwork, creating simple artefacts using embroidery or woodwork. Civilians in France created millions of embroidered postcards during WWI and samples of these can be seen today in the Anzac Memorial Hyde Park.
The photo above shows an Australian florin from 1910 with the crest carved out into relief. Many of you born from 1966 onward won't recognise the coin but I remember learning to add up, subtract, multiply and divide in pounds shillings and pence at primary school before decimal currency replaced the "old" money in 1966. Two shillings or a florin became what we now call twenty cents.
I'm not sure if the coin qualifies as trench art but I like to think it was. It was found amongst other military memorabilia from WWI and the Boer War in a squat house in the 1980s. Its owner painstakingly carved it out and kept it all those years. Perhaps it was a memory from his battlefield experiences? Who knows? More about that and the finder of those belongings in next week's blog.
To find out more about trench art and it's significance to the soldiers who created it, you can see samples on the following website:
And a simple google search will bring up many sites trading in trench art today.