Anecdotes

From The Shed To Birmingham Town Hall

In October 2007 after 11 years of closure and a £35 million restoration, Birmingham’s much-loved Town Hall was once again open for business.

I hope you’ll agree that the building looks fantastic (a bit like my shed), and so it reclaimed its rightful place as one of the city’s most important civic buildings and a world-class venue.   One of the first events to be held in the newly revamped Town Hall on November 7th was an awards ceremony organised by IOD (Institute of Directors) for West Midlands Emerging Leaders Award Dinner, of which I had been approached to make the awards. There were eight in all with an overall winner.  After consulting with the IOD I came up with the idea of a storyboard consisting of eight separate awards depicting how groups work together in order to achieve a final result.  Each award would be part of the whole story with the winner receiving  the achieved final result.

Pinnacle (as it was titled) was a time line, with the rising sun and the building of a tower demonstrating a progression, relating to how, we as humans work together in order to reach a perceived outcome.  The winning award is the one with the tower completed and a single figure standing on the top, almost able to touch the sun.  This storyboard would never be together as a whole once the event was over, each piece being taken away by the eight finalists.

Right now look at this!

Look at the back of the stage…….Look at it!  My stuff is big!

I had received a phone call from the set design team wanting to know what palette I used and did I have any colour swatches, so they could get the background to match the awards.  So I told them, “The yellow is silver and the blue is copper”.  We weren’t on the phone very long, I think they though I was mad, so they just used blue and yellow?

But yes, I was really chuffed with that!

Did we go to the ceremony? No, sounded a bit to businessy for us. We were invited though!

If you would like to see what other colours are in Kevin’s palette, please visit www.kevinwallhead.co.uk

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Two Drunks At Carlton Studios

MidlanderYear2005

Late in 2003 I received a phone call from Carlton Television Studios. “Would you be prepared to design and make the awards for 2003 Midlander of the Year and be there with your wife at the studios for the presentations.”

We had already spent a day with Lizzie in July the year before so this was going to be a breeze.

We booked in at Hart’s Hotel in Nottingham, lovely place but a bit posh for the likes of us and when we arrived we spent the afternoon taking photographs out of the windows as a fantastic storm blew in from the east.
It rained and rained and never looked like stopping, so we got ourselves togged up, me in my hired tuxedo and Molly in her gorgeous little black number,  had a couple of beers each and hurried into the waiting taxi that would take us to the studios.  On arriving, the rain still pouring, we dashed from the taxi onto the red carpet, to be met, not by huge crowds but a sole television camera.  Feeling slightly damp and bedraggled Molly tripped over the end of the red carpet, not the best entrance!  We were escorted to the champagne reception and mingled with other invited guests and celebrities, quaffing champers like it was going out of fashion.  We were told a television camera would be circulating throughout the evening among the guests and as the maker of the awards the camera would come to our table, eek!

On arriving at the table there were numerous bottles of wine, eek!

The awards ceremony started and all was going very well, and no sign of a television camera in the near vicinity.  The wine was going down very well also as winner after winner accepted their awards.  Dr John Sentamu (the Bishop of Birmingham) for services to community relations, Peter Mansfield (Nottingham University) for services to medical science, Henrietta Knight and Terry Biddlecombe for services to horse racing, Ozzie Osbourne (Birmingham) for services to music and entertainment.

Noddy Holder accepting the award for Ozzie Osbourne (he’d had an accident on his quad bike)

“And the winner is…………..Martin Johnson” (World Cup winning rugby captain), brilliant!

“Well, the awards are nearly over, where’s the camera?” we thought.

“Oh, here it is.”  It didn’t stay on our table very long, as we slumped further out of view.  Not really bothered though, we had a good night, into the green room after the event for more drinkies then back to the hotel for a bit of a port frenzy.  Then breakfast with Noddy (well, he passed me the brown sauce).

So we didn’t make it onto the telly, good job really, we were in a bit of a mess.  But I was invited to make the awards for the 2004 Midlander of the Year.

And the winner was “Fiona Thornewill” who reached the South Pole solo and unaided in a record 42 days in 2004, walking and skiing over 700 miles in the process.

I don’t know why we didn’t get an invite to this presentation?

If you would like Kevin to make you some glass awards (he doesn’t expect an invite) please visit www.kevinwallhead.co.uk

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Fishtank Heaven

A few years ago now, a gentleman contacted me with regard to producing an installation that would sit within his large fish tank. A bit of a challenge really, it had to be minimalist, freestanding and allow the fish to swim freely around, without causing them any harm. So we knocked our heads together and came up with Fish Tank Heaven, a three panelled curved sculpture depicting a spacescape of planets.

Preliminary ideas and drawings were sent to the client for his consideration. We liaised for a couple of weeks ironing out the problems that could occur in producing this spacescape, eventually agreeing on a finished proposal. The installation would consist of three glass panels so they could be easily removed from the tank for cleaning purpose, which had to be regularly cleaned to avoid a build up of algae.

It all went swimmingly well as you can see. Some of the fish were bigger than I had expected, but the fishy colours complimented the planetary scene, or should it be the other way round? The planetary scene complimented the fantastic colours that darted in and out, in front, behind and around the solar stage.

Fish swimming around planets? Sounds a bit weird……Looks quite effective!

For glass that doesn’t smell of fish visit www.kevinwallhead.co.uk

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Meeting Lizzie

In May 2002 I was contacted by North Lincolnshire Council regarding a possible commission.  To produce a piece of work that would be presented to Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II at Normanby Hall in North Lincolnshire, commemorating her Golden Jubilee Year visit.  Two day’s later, another phone call, “We would like yourself and Mollie to be there to meet and present the piece of work to The Queen”.

“You’ve got to be joking!” I thought. “Us, meet the Royal’s”, not really our type of scene but obviously I jumped at the chance and it was only three years into my glass artist career.  After a couple of weeks deliberating on what the commission would consist of, I plumped for a stick figure bowl. It depicted a street walkabout, waving flags, hustle and bustle, with Her Majesty and The Duke shaking hands with their loyal subjects that surrounded the bowl.  By using the delicate, simple, stick figure images you could not tell one from another, which reinforces the fact that we are all here through procreation and not of our own doing, putting us all on the same level.

The day was awesome, we walked in and out of Normanby Hall so many times in front of the crowds behind the barriers, it just made us feel important.  Had a bit of lunch, popped out for a cigarette, shook hands with Philip and Lizzie, had a bit of a chat and a giggle.

Brilliant day ………… bit weird as well, not like any other day. ( I can’t show you a picture of the bowl…….I forgot to take a photograph of it, knobhead!)

If you would like to see some glass that Kevin did take a photograph of visit www.kevinwallhead.co.uk

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