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Pen Austin

Pen is an expert in architectural finishes, including decorative painting, plaster, and lime. Her work focuses on the importance of sensitive restoration using historic materials.

A member of The Worshipful Company of Plaisters in London, Pen holds an Honors Degree in Architectural Conservation from Portsmouth University in the United Kingdom.  Pen has extensive academic and applied training in the full range of techniques for preparing, installing and conserving lime plasters and mortars, including mouldings, scagliola finishes, modeling and casting.  Working with Hirst Conservation she conserved the elliptical domed ceiling (63’ x 45”) of the Marble Saloon at Stowe House in the United Kingdom, a project supported by the World Monuments Fund.  Pen has also worked for the United Kingdom’s National Trust conserving rare Elizabethan plasterwork at Hardwick Hall (1590s) under the supervision of Jeff Orton. 


A resident of Nantucket for the past eleven years, Pen has served as a consultant to the Plymouth Antiquarian Society in Plymouth, Massachusetts; the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester, Virginia; the Coggeshall Farm Museum, Bristol, Rhode Island; and the Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts.  Pen’s work has been recognized twice by the Nantucket Preservation Trust which named her the recipient of its Traditional Building Techniques Award in 2010, and, in 2016, as the recipient of its Architectural Preservation Award for her work in conceiving and carrying out the restoration of the Nicholson-Andrews House at 55 Union Street, Nantucket.

At Greenwood Fest 2018, Pen will teach a hands-on workshop on making milk paint from scratch, and will be on hand to disentangle all your thorny finishing questions.

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