Home Events Conservation and Craft Myths: A Window into the YCCC World

Conservation and Craft Myths: A Window into the YCCC World

This online event showcased the work of four Consortium members, who each provided a fifteen-minute presentation on the myths they encounter in their field and answered questions from the audience. We were joined by over 140 members and non-members!

Preconceptions: About the Colour of Ironwork

Bethan Griffiths, The Ironwork Studio

We live in a world of many and varied colours, from bright and bold to subtle and calm, and we make full use of this wide palette to decorate our built environment.  So why is it that when it comes to heritage ironwork that the majority of people automatically think of black as the appropriate colour? This presentation aims to explode the ‘always black’ myth and will explore a range of historic colours and influences on colour fashions.



Changing the Ethics of Stained Glass Restoration

Keith Barley, Barley Studio

As a result of fashion, unregulated restoration practices and disturbing results in the 19th and early 20th centuries, conservation regulations and ethics were established. Historic windows were to be treated as ancient objects, best left as found. The journey to dispel these established ethics has been challenging in the face of opposition. Over the last fifty years, the collaboration of art historians and conservator/restorers has driven a shift towards the treatment of ancient windows as objects of art, as well as artefacts. The restoration of York Minster’s Great East window, guided by the East Window Advisory Group, demonstrates the development of present-day ethics.



What is a Photograph? Can it be Conserved?

Susie Clark, Paper and Photographic Conservator and Consultant

There is a myth in conservation that photographs are difficult to treat and fraught with danger for conservators. There is also a myth amongst some of the wider public that perhaps nothing can be done with a damaged photograph. This presentation will provide a brief introduction to photographs and show that it is often possible to improve their condition.





Exposed Churches: The Myth That Has Left Churches Undressed

Matthias Garn, Matthias Garn Master Mason + Partner

We are used to seeing our historic stone churches as just that- stone buildings, often in a state of erosion or disrepair. For the medieval builder, however, many churches today would appear undressed, both inside and outside. They are missing one fundamental layer, their protective coating, their “raincoat”.  I will briefly explore the modern assumption that stone churches always looked as they do now and consider how this assumption is damaging to the future care of these important buildings.


About the Speakers

Keith Barley, Barley Studio

Keith Barley MBE MA CF FMGP ACR is internationally renowned in stained glass conservation, especially for the environmental protection of vulnerable stained glass. He was awarded the MBE in in 2015 ‘for service to cultural restoration and conservation’, in particular for his work at St Mary’s Church, Fairford, which also formed the subject of his MA by Research awarded by the University of York in 2017.

Keith is an ICON accredited conservator (ACR), conservation adviser to the UK Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (CVMA), Fellow of the British Society of Master Glass Painters (FMGP) and of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (CF). Keith was the Master of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass for 2017-18, one of the few practising glaziers to be given this honour. In 2020 Keith received the Master Certificate Award given by the Worshipful Company of Glaziers.

Susie Clark, Paper and Photographic Conservator and Consultant

Susie Clark ACR is a paper and photographic conservator and consultant. She was previously the conservator for the BBC Hulton Picture Library, (later Getty Images). Since 1990 she has been a freelance conservator working in this country and abroad for institutions and private clients. In 1996 she was the recipient of the Museums and Galleries Commission Jerwood Conservation Award for Research and Innovation. More recently, she was also the conservator for the joint National Science and Media Museum and Getty Conservation Institute research project on the identification of photographs.

Bethan Griffiths, The Ironwork Studio

Bethan Griffiths, director of The Ironwork Studio, is a specialist designer and consultant in decorative architectural ironwork. Beautiful work, skilfully crafted is at the heart of what she offers, providing inspiration and expert knowledge to both create and restore ironwork.

Her passion for metalwork, especially blacksmithing, developed while studying for her BA in Three-Dimensional Design. This has led to her being involved in a wide range of prominent projects from a new contemporary Bandstand for a World Heritage Site to the restoration of Grade 1 listed work.

In giving something back to her craft, Bethan has been involved in many voluntary projects. Most recently she is significantly involved with the development of guidelines, training and accreditation for the restoration of heritage ironwork through her position as Trustee for the National Heritage Ironwork Group (NHIG).

Matthias Garn, Matthias Garn Master Mason + Partner

Matthias has worked in the stone industry for 30 years. Following his apprenticeship in Dresden, Germany, he worked in a number of stonemasonry and carving workshops in Europe before moving to England in 1998 to work for Wells Cathedral Stonemasons and then for Dick Reid’s workshop in York.

Matthias runs his own stone business- specialising in the conservation and repair of historic stone structures. He is a German Master in Stonemasonry and Stone Carving, a member of the Worshipful Company of Masons, a Freeman of the City of London, a SPAB Fellow and a member of the Historic England Conservation Committee.

He is a frequent lecturer, teacher and advisor in the field of historic stone conservation.


16 June 2020


7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Online (Zoom)

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