The Birmingham University’s School of Jewellery has used scrap metal to deliver a perfect 150th birthday present for a local manufacturer.
Brandauer, one of the early pioneers in the global pen trade, wanted to mark its milestone anniversary by hosting a competition that encouraged BA (Hons) students to produce pieces of jewellery that reflected the intricate and detailed nature of the firm’s parts that end up in automotive electronics, dual fuel cells, security devices, 98 per cent of the world’s kettles and the Large Hadron Collider.
Each of the 38 participants received a bag of metal scraps from its Newtown factory and were given just four weeks to come up with their creations.
Students explored ways to manipulate and transform the initial material employing techniques, such as reticulation, melting, forming, dissecting, layering, soldering, laser welding, and colouring.
They were then judged by former chairman John Berkeley OBE and wife Michele, who settled on five main winners; Harriet Knight (copper), Natalie Lee (silver plated prass), Bow Sangthong (stainless steel) and Peter Clark and Sanna Heino (aluminium).
“Brandauer began a century and a half ago as one of the leaders of Birmingham’s world-famous pen trade, much of which was based in the Jewellery Quarter. It won medals at many of the great international exhibitions of the Victorian age for the design and craftsmanship of its pens.
“How appropriate that, 150 years later, we should be helping to stimulate a new generation of craftsmen and women to create award-winning designs in metal.”
The competition is the latest in a long line of events planned by Brandauer in 2012. The company has already welcomed HRH Princess Royal and invested £750,000 in new machines.
The high-speed presses are capable of producing two billion parts a year and will help the firm turn over £10 million.