Elora artist sends iron rose to Norway massacre monument

Out of tragic circumstances can come incredible acts of humanity – and that is what inspired Elora blacksmith artist David McCord to take part in the iron rose art sculpture project to commemorate the lives lost in the Norway massacre.

“I wanted to contribute to the project because of the losses of life and the type of violence,” McCord explained. “I was interested in doing something for peace.”

On July 22 Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist, launched two terrorist attacks in Oslo, Norway, including a fertilizer bomb that killed eight people at a government building, then gunning down 69 youth activists at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoeya Island.

The horrific event shocked the peaceful nation of Norway, where, according to Norway’s Klassekampen Newspaper, on average one in four people were said to have known a victim of the attacks.

Artists Tone Mørk Karlsrud and Tobbe Malm, who live near Oslo, are working to create a central monument in memory of the victims of these attacks.

The monument will be a collaboration of iron roses, sent from blacksmith artists around the world.

McCord learned about the project after reading a letter to the editor in the Artist Blacksmith’s Association of North America publication.

“These artists in Norway were asking people to submit iron roses from around the world,” said McCord.

He explained the roses were to reflect the outpouring of grief, with citizens of Norway throwing roses along the streets in the days after the tragedy, and the July 26 rose parade held in Oslo and other cities throughout the country.

McCord’s iron rose took a total of two days to create. “This was made using a trip-hammer, for the effect, and a [3 by 3.25-inch] bar of steel.”

He figures the retail cost of the iron rose would be $200.

“I tried to let the shapes be largely suggested by the metal and the techniques,” McCord said, adding the emotion of the piece was always present in his work.

“It wasn’t about making the perfect rose. The forging was a lot of fun but the reason was very sad.”

McCord’s rose, sent to Norway last month, will join hundreds of iron roses sent to Karlsrud and Malm from blacksmiths around the world.

Karlsrud and Malm plan to build a sculpture 16.5 feet high, with a rose-covered globe resting on top, to represent unity and global engagement.

The names of all the victims will carved into the granite foundation.

“I’m waiting to see the final project,” McCord said. “I think it will evolve depending on how many roses they get, so I am assuming the project has grown.”

The monument will be  unveiled in 2013 at the two-year anniversary of the terrorist attack.