Since day one, we’ve mingled products by local artists and makers throughout the store. ~ Mark Burkett, co-owner
Tracery 157 is a local one-woman craft studio. It's not every day that you see a woman wielding blow torches, working massive saws, and cutting stone and copper, but for Cathy Vaughn, it's in her genes. Her dad, a Duke Power employee by day, had a shop out behind their S.C. home. In his spare time, he was a master Marquetry craftsman, and his work was featured in shows throughout the south. That shop, full of tools and jigs and racks of paper-thin wood, was her playground.
Cathy's creative path landed her in the graphic design field, where she has worked for more than 20 years. Never one to be strapped to the computer, her home garage looked more and more like her dad's shop as time went by. She started working with copper several years ago when the roof rack on her car broke before a trip -- she made a new one out of soldered copper pipe. She started making copper trellises, garden stakes and decorative sprinklers in 2006, at the insistence of friends. Demand grew, and she decided to move her operation to a more appropriate space before she burned her house down. Tracery 157 opened in 2012.
Cathy's larger works are mostly by commission. Recent commissions include custom copper gates, wall art, trellises, a kitchen divider, and fireplace screens. She developed her own methods and mixes for verdigis and other aged finishes that add a unique, painterly quality to the fretwork. In each piece, she explores the interplay of light and texture and a fluid, dimensional interpretation of copper pipe and other found objects.
She has recently added a retail line of smaller works of copper, stone and slate, turned into plant stakes, candle holders, wine servers, and small sculptures. Her own take on indoor lanterns and garden torches uses recycled blown glass bottles and meticulous verdigris copper fittings. We have several of these one-of-a-kind pieces in Mongrel.
She says she finds her inspiration in architecture, in nature, and in the patterns that surround us. Deeper than that are those mystical tools that were in her dad's shop, now in her own studio. And they do sing.