Katlyn Cornelius is a fixture in Concord’s burgeoning arts scene and a creative force whose work is popping up all over the Charlotte region. It’s no surprise that Southern Strain Brewing Company came to her when they needed a unique centerpiece for their new bar,

“One of the owners of Southern Strain came to my studio in Concord with a bucket of broken glass and said, ‘Hey, we’re opening a new brewery could you do anything fun with this?’ And little did he know, I’ve been working with this same process for many many years. In the beginning, it was broken liquor bottles and I got cut a lot. It’s totally refined now.”

That bucket contained blue textured glass reclaimed from the former textile mill building where Southern Strain was opening their craft brewery. Katlyn turned the broken pieces into a lit mosaic backsplash for their bar. When Southern Strain began planning for a new location, they went back to Kat to see if she could bring that aesthetic to Charlotte’s Midwood neighborhood.

“In this Southern Strain #2 process, I had it all down to a science. Your first layer is resin, and then you mosaic it, you let that cure, and then you fill it in so the gaps are full of resin and so no one can cut themselves, but enough so you can see the texture of the glass.”

Not content to merely reproduce the work at Southern Strain in Concord, Katlyn and her husband David made plans to level things up for Midwood and approached Casco Signs to assist with production.

“I said, ‘Why don’t we put a logo in the middle?’ and then came, well, we can CNC it, and we can have it be two layers, and it can be brushed metal. So, we worked with Andrew (Casco, VP Marketing) to really kind of brainstorm how that logo was going to come out.”

The aluminum helix and hops logo integrates well with the stainless steel beer taps. The logo is surrounded by two rings of lights calling back to the original Southern Strain logo. Those light rings glow behind an additional circle of mosaic glass that brings more depth and interest to the center of the piece. This time, the LED strip lights were double-diffused for a smooth neon-like glow. Upgraded mounting hardware gives a professional finishing touch.

Blue glass windows in Historic Cannon Mill #14 located in Concord, NC.

Local history in the DNA

Textile mills were once the economic engines of many southern small towns. Southern Strain Brewing Company in Concord, NC, is located inside historic Cannon Mill #14. The building featured floor-to-ceiling windows with blue-colored, textured glass panels.

Katlyn and David continue to reclaim mill glass from demolition and incorporate it into public artworks that connect the community to its past.

A Creative Sign Company

Casco is looking for more opportunities to collaborate with all types of artists. Our talented production designers and craftsmen can bring the artist’s vision to life in metal, glass, and light. The creative energy flows both ways when those partnerships work well as they did with Kat’s glass mosaic.

Visit Tuxedo Kat Imaginarium to see more of Katlyn Cornelius’ work.