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Halloween Art and Travel

Oct 13, 2023

Meet Tracy Mahaffey, a talented stone carver and memorial artist who creates lasting stories in stone using only her hands and simple tools. Out of her studio comes gravestones, memorials, architectural work, and sculptures. Tracy majored in sculpture in university. At that time, she thought all memorial work was done by computers and sandblasting. When she found people making memorials by hand, she knew she had found her tribe. 

The low-tech nature of the job appeals to Tracy. All of her work starts with a sketch on paper. Then the sketches become full scale drawings, which are transferred to the stone with carbon paper. All sculpting is done with a mallet and chisel – that's it. Stone carving has changed little since ancient times; tools are now made of stronger materials but the processes are the same. The beauty of a hand carved inscription is the human hand. You want to see the variations.  

Tracy has created memorial art in a variety of styles ranging from Puritan to art deco to the look of today. Her favorite era is our era. She currently works in marble, limestone, granite, zinc, bronze, and clay.  

Working with a family to create a memorial for their loved one is a privilege. She loves hearing family stories and condensing them into a story that can be told in stone. The process is truly a collaboration.  

Tracy is optimistic about the future of memorial arts and is happy to share her knowledge by teaching. She’s impressed by the talent and passion of others in her field. Her hope is that people in the future look back and say that the 2000s were a wonderful time period for this art field.  

The art available in cemeteries around the world rivals that of fine art museums. Tracy recommended the following cemeteries for their beauty and amazing monuments:  

The book Tracy recommended is “Sticks & Stones” by M. Ruth Little 

Visit Tracy’s website at: