Plasteri is an outlet for the musings and collaborations and designs and inspirations for our team here at Master of Plaster. We love to share and interact with craftsmen, tradesmen, artists, and fellow designers from around the world. Our firm has a rich history and one that we are extremely proud to hail from.
Setting the stage: Our story begins in 17th century England. With a man by the name of Christopher Kempster. A stone mason, an architect, a plasterer, all by trade, training, education, and experience. Truly a master craftsman and tradesman at the time when skill levels were measured by decades of hands on apprenticeships and not just years. Christopher worked closely alongside England’s most famous architect, Sir Christopher Wren serving as one of the major rebuilders of London after the Great Fire of 1666. Projects such as Blenheim Palace, Oxford College, Windsor Castle, Abingdon County Hall, St. Mary Abchurch, St. James Garlickhythe, and Christ Church Oxford are all part of the repertoire of his substantial work. However, his most noted project is the work he completed for Wren on one of the world’s most iconic buildings, St. Paul’s Cathedral. Lead plasterer and head stone mason, Christopher Kempster was a true artist and helped design, construct, and decorate some of London’s most treasured works of architecture and history.
Skip Trowel Ahead to the mid 1900’s: Over 9 generations of Kempster plasterers have come and gone since the original English plasterer of Wren’s so many years ago. Michael Kempster, the last plasterer of the lineage, based himself out of the quite little town of Essex, NY. Working on such phenomenal projects as Boston’s Beacon Hill, Le Meridian Hotel, Trinity Church NYC, Ellis Island, and Mechanics Hall, Mike was a true artist at heart and held a passion for plaster throughout his entire life. His greatest legacy however is his creation and formulations of unique lines of lime-based plaster. The Restoration Plaster he formulated is a phenomenal plaster and has been used extensively in the Historic Preservation profession to salvage and save as much of the original historic fabric of each structure it has been used on. His passion for such an artistic and expressive material is expressed in his development of other lines of plaster, ranging from lime washes and Venetian Plasters to the unique Caenstone and one of a kind veneer plastering system. He was an old soul with young blood who stayed true to his trade and craft until the very end.
Present Day: With Mike’s passing, the company has moved from Upstate NY down to Columbia, South Carolina into the hands of a fellow plasterer and one of the country’s leading plaster preservationists. An admirer of Mike’s talent and expertise, Kirk couldn’t stand the thought of Mike’s work being lost with him like the work of so many great plasterers of our time and from generations before. It is here that we work hard to uphold the standards and expertise of the great plasterers from throughout the ages. Whether it be as simple as restoring unstable plaster back to wood lath or all the way to recreating stunning ornate ceiling designs, our passion can be seen in our final product. We love all things plaster here at MOP and feel very honored to be carrying on a tradition that is steeped in the history of this civilizations greatest structures.