This September - Commemorative Sculpture for Canadian Veterans
Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) is holding a commemorative event marking the 100th anniversary of Canada’s 100 Days (Aug. 8 – Nov. 11) and First World War Armistice. VAC will hold many ceremonies and activities, including a hands-on forging event lead by Two Smiths, from Ontario.
How to Participate
The public, veterans and students are invited to participate in the creation of a commemorative sculpture. Two coal forges will be lit to heat the metal using fire. Participants will use hammers to strike the hot metal on an anvil, creating shapes that will collectively form a sculpture. Forging larger pieces requires several people striking in unison with hammers in order to shape the hot steel. As the work evolves and begins to take shape, a particular type of camaraderie develops. It’s our belief that physically participating in creating an object that’s the result of many individuals working together can be a powerful experience; one that offers opportunities for sharing histories and learning about the past.
Two Smiths staff will facilitate that process in a way that enables those with no experience to safely and successfully participate.
Iron has a long history of serving the role of protector: armour to protect bodies, iron grilles to protect reliquaries belonging to the church, and fences to protect spaces. In many African countries today, the red iron oxide found in deposits across the continent are still considered to be the earth’s blood.
We have designed this sculpture to have two major components: forged steel and cast bronze medallions. The sculpture will consist of 35 vertical bars, representing veterans across time. To the left is an example of what one of the pieces will looks like.
It was Afghanistan war veteran Bram Porter’s idea to use cast coins or medallions made from bronze, citing the fact that we often refer to the cost of war when, from the veteran’s perspective, we should also be considering the price that soldiers pay to serve their countries.
The cast medallions will appear to be suspended from a series of forged ribbons. Participants will help to forge wide tapers on the ends of large bars and also chisel lines into the surface of the steel to create the illusion that the medals hang from ribbons of fabric. There is also an opportunity for veterans to contribute to the medallions, with words and symbols that they feel best represent their experiences.
Two Smiths will provide the necessary safety gear:
• Safety glasses, gloves, earplugs, leather apron
Dressing for Safety
• Ensure your legs are covered; wear pants
• Wear closed-toe shoes
• Tie long hair back
• Remove all jewellery or any loose, hanging accessories
Dates: September 28th and 29th
Times: 10am – 4pm
Where: Beaverbrook Art Gallery,