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David Hayles

2015 Askins Achievement Award Recipient

When someone mentions the word "scagliola" in name comes to mind:  David Hayles.  Few men have had such a profound impact on their specialty in the Preservation Trades as David. 

World-renowned for his skill and experience in the craft of scagliola, David Hayles is a founding partner of Hayles and Howe ornamental Plasterers, a company with a long history of high profile projects worldwide. David studied architecture at Bristol University and began work in London for the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, ancient Monuments Department. Afterwards he began his own plastering company, and in 1998 won top awards for the restoration of scagliola at the Goodwood House in West Sussex, England, and for the plaster restoration and new scagliola at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.

"When someone mentions the word "scagliola" in name comes to mind.  David Hayles.  Few men have had such a profound impact on their specialty in the Preservation Trades as David.  His work is admired on two continents in many of our national treasurers.  Over the past 40 plus years, the company he founded with Dixon Howe, and later joined by David Harrison, has won more awards in America and England than we have the time to discuss here today.  But it is not just David's mastery of his trade that makes him a nominee for this award.  It is his humble, amiable spirit and dedication to sharing his knowledge with anyone that listens that has made him an IPTW star.   

I can't think of any IPTW I have attended, where there wasn't a crowd around David's demonstration or where there weren't people talking at lunch about "the guy that does that plaster marble thing."  He is a specialist in a specialty trade.  With Angelique at his side, this dynamic duo have been on a crusade to share their plaster expertise with anyone who will listen and where they set up shop, a crowd always soon gathers.  Over the past years, their creation during the event, a scagliola column, has been the highest netting PTN auction item....just another example of how David gives back in the most unassuming way.  

When talking about the Taliesin Fellowship, Edgar Taffel, Frank Lloyd Wright’s chief draftsman, once said that Wright, the architectural genius was not a teacher in the conventional sense, most geniuses aren't.   You learn from simply being around them...watching them work.  There are very few people in this world that elude that kind of knowledge and confidence when they are working.  David Hayles has that aura.  When watching him work, you somehow know you are not simply watching a craftsperson doing his or her job, but that you are privileged to be in his presence, that you are indeed in the company of a genius.   But unlike Wright, you will never find David bragging in a bombastic way about his accomplishments.  His quiet, jovial demeanor is the most telling component of his personality.  He doesn't see the need to brag or call attention to himself; he lets his work speak for him.  To me, this is  the greatest attribute a true craftsman can possess and why David Hayles is a fitting recipient of the 2015 Askins Award."

Award speech by Dave Mertz

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