Folk Artist Herman Hayes Born: Sept. 23, 1923

Sep 23, 2016

Folk artist Herman Hayes was born at Elkview in Kanawha County on September 23, 1923. After serving in the Marines during World War II, he went to college at West Virginia Wesleyan and then at Morris Harvey (now University of Charleston).

Hayes' work was exhibited in Washington and New York City and was sought after by collectors from around the country.
Credit e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

In 1963, he became an ordained minister and later served Methodist churches across the state.

Hayes is best remembered, though, as a master carver. His trademark pieces featured many tiny figures assembled in a sports stadium or other venue. Some of his other works featured figures standing on the shoulders of other figures—all carved from one piece of wood. Hayes used a variety of tools, including chisels, straight razors, and surgical instruments, and he worked with many kinds of wood, though he preferred basswood.

His work was exhibited in Washington and New York City and was sought after by collectors from around the country. He twice won the top award in the West Virginia Juried Exhibition, and his pieces are on display at the West Virginia State Museum. The Rev. Herman Hayes died at Hurricane in Putnam County in 2012 at age 88.