John William Laing

John William Laing

2004 Askins Achievement Award Recipient

"As an educator at Edinburgh’s Telford College, John Laing has dedicated his life to sustaining the trowel trades in Scotland, in particular, plasterwork. He has also played an important role in bringing the techniques of historic plasterwork to trades people, architects, and conservators in the United States."

As an educator at Edinburgh’s Telford College, John Laing has dedicated his life to sustaining the trowel trades in Scotland, in particular, plasterwork. He has also played an important role in bringing the techniques of historic plasterwork to trades people, architects, and conservators in the United States. Mr. Laing was nominated for this award by the owners of Virginia Lime Works, James Price (2003 Askins award recipient), and his son Jeffrey. Their nomination statement reads in part: My father and I met John Laing 4 years ago on our first trip to Scotland to learn more about traditional plastering and the many other uses of lime. Close to our hotel was a beautiful stone church that was under restoration. The restoration for the most part was being performed by apprentices and student stone carvers/masons. We stopped in to discuss the project when they told us that they were students at Edinburgh’s Telford College. We popped over to Telford where we were looking for the masonry instructor but instead were met by John Laing, the head of the plastering department. John took the greater part of the day to show us American strangers, his workshops, the work that his students were doing, and to discuss education initiatives and trowel trades education. The hospitality and the openness of that discussion was something that was never forgotten. As a result of this meeting Mr. Laing came to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to demonstrate flat wall and in-situ cornice plasterwork at IPTW 2000. He has been a demonstrator at two subsequent IPTW events at IPTW 2002 in Fairmont, West Virginia, and IPTW 2003 Columbia, Maryland. At each of these events he has shared, not just his mastery of his trade and passion for teaching, but also his dedication to the understanding and practice of heritage conservation and continuing commitment to education.

Nomination statement by Jeffrey Price, Virginia Lime Works