Thomas Michael Battersby – Stuccoist & Lead Beater

BATTERSBY calls himself a “stuccoist” and is the third generation of artisans working in plaster, molds, and casting in San Antonio and South Texas. Battersby frequently finds himself preserving the creations of his father and even his grandfather, the first plasterer in the family. In the 1980s, Battersby and his father worked together on a major restoration of the Majestic Theatre, which, by the way, his grandfather had helped build. Some of the important public buildings Battersby has worked on include the missions, the Aztec Theatre, and the historic Menger Hotel. His work requires many skills: welding, carpentry, tool making, and mold making among them. The job requires all kinds of troubleshooting and problem solving. And while restoration is most of his business, he loves to work on original designs. Battersby’s favorite tools are his hands, but next in line are his father’s and grandfather’s tools. One of his favorites is his grandfather’s old square that he cut down. He makes many of his own tools, whatever is needed to accomplish the task. Like the other trades (woodworking, masonry, and blacksmithing) Battersby says his craft is as old as time itself: “Working with mud has been around a long, long while.”