Exploring Family Threads and Preserving Memories

For the past 18 months, Suzanne Holtkamp has been working alongside SEFAA (Southeastern Fiber Arts Alliance) and the Environmental & Heritage Center (Buford, Georgia) in building “Continuous Threads: 200 Years of Georgia Textiles,” an exhibit which gives visitors the unique opportunity to explore traditional, historically-significant, southeastern domestic textiles together with contemporary artworks created by artists currently living and working in the region.

In addition to over 50 works of contemporary fiber arts and historic artifacts, interactive hands-on stations give visitors the chance to learn weaving, cross-stitch, quilt design, and more. The exhibit runs through August 30.

Suzanne’s lifelong passion for sewing and textiles began at a very young age. Around age 8, she began learning from her mother, an avid sewer and even ventured into designing and pattern making. Growing up when clothes were domestically produced and more expensive, she made many of her own clothes, adopting a unique look different from what could be found in stores. Suzanne continues to be addicted to sewing and spends her time designing and constructing stage costuming, including classical ballet tutus and theatre productions.


In conjunction with this textile exhibit, StoryCorps Atlanta made an audio recording of Suzanne and her mom in which they spoke about three generations of sewing in the family. Suzanne is convinced there is indeed a sewing gene, although it remains to be seen if either of her daughters is a late-bloomer!

All these topics and more family history moments (including making shorts out of feed sacks in the 1940’s) were explored during the creation of this audio artifact, which was burned onto a disc for the family and will be also be preserved in the Library of Congress.  We’re delighted to share excerpts from the StoryCorps audio recording below..

About StoryCorps

StoryCorps, sponsored locally by WABE 90.1 and PBS, is an independent non-profit with a mission to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. One of the largest oral history projects of any kind, millions listen to their broadcasts on public radio and the web.

With recording locations in Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco, they’re striving to use these artifacts to “remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters.”

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