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Forgotten Heroes
In the summer of 2007, I participated in Ted Noten’s international workshop, ‘Heroes’, held at the Birmingham City University School of Jewellery. Here participants, who were contemporary jewellers from all over the world, were matched with professionals from the Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, all of them distinguished crafts people in their own right. These ‘Heroes’ represent an indispensable body of knowledge and experience in their specialised fields of work which could well be lost when, over the next few years, they begin to retire.

I was matched with Brian Jones, a historian at The Pen Room, a museum and learning centre of writing and the pen trade. I was taught that Birmingham was once the centre of the world pen trade for more than a century during the Victorian era. It employed thousands of people including a large number of women. The museum space is completely filled with all the things which are related to the pen trade; tons of vintage pen nibs, pen holders, ink bottles, old packages and adverts, and images which tell us how the working conditions used to be in the old days.

During the workshop, I designed a wearable pen which consisted of a vintage pen nib, a pen clip, and a printed paper with some text and an image of people working in an old pen nib factory. This was homage to the pen industry in Birmingham and the people in the pen nib factories who supported it at the bottom of the industry as ‘Forgotten Heroes’.

The Pen Room-----http://www.penroom.co.uk
Ted Noten -----http://www.tednoten.com


Forgotten Heroes_yoko izawa
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