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One of my ASA certifications is American Folk Art. This came to pass a few years ago because I submitted to the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) a proposal for a folk art category which it lacked. After some nonsensical political turmoil my proposal was accepted. I subsequently wrote two 100 question tests for applicants to take if they aspire to be accredited in this broad specialty. To date only one expert other than myself is an ASA qualified folk art appraiser. What can I say, it’s a difficult test.

Folk art is the product of untrained artists. It can be pretty much anything: jewelry, paintings, sculpture, carvings, etc. One type of folk art that has always interested me is trench art. Trench art is a relatively broad term used to describe what soldiers, marines, and sailors create while idle. One typical trench art object is a decorated artillery shell casing. Shell casings are brass, and when scratch-decorated or punch-decorated and then polished, they are transformed into beautiful vases, ash trays, or canisters.

It’s almost over, so do take a look quickly, there is an exhibit of trench art at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown Pennsylvania ending 31 MAY 09. The title of the exhibit is From Swords to Plowshares: Metal Trench Art from WWI and WWII.