Pine Curtain Project

The Pine Curtain Stories project is a mixed-media, multi-genre personal, family and community history project incorporating historical research, visual art and writing. The main focus of this project is the Lufkin/Nacogdoches/Carthage area of East Texas, and more specifically, unincorporated areas around those larger cities, from the mid-1800s to the mid-1990s. (And yes, that does cover a lot of ground! The pine curtain is dense and full of stories.)

Options for commissions, exhibitions and licensing are open to clients across the US, and subjects are not limited to East Texas!


Can this work be shared?

You may share my content on social media with credit and a link back to my site or a social media tag. All content, visual art, misc creative work, and other IP is the copyrighted to Stephanie Khattak and can’t be republished without permission. If you would like to use this work for commercial or editorial purposes, please get in touch about licensing.

Who are these people?

I purposefully change names and lightly fictionalize identifying details for living people who are not directly related to me, or have not given explicit permission to be written about. In sharing specific historical accounts, I do include most names and facts that I have been able to verify in public record, with citations when appropriate. The core families represented are my immediate family: Durham, Porter, Hadley, McBryde, Duke, Squyres, Free and Veteto. These are my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents along with aunts, uncles and cousins.

Where do you get your information?

My images and stories come from my own family history, shared through the years. I also use, JSTOR, the SFA East Texas Research Center and the History Center in Diboll, TX, especially the Ruth Grant Homer Research Collection and the Durham family photo collection. I am sure I will add more to this list over time. Among other things, I am a former investigative reporter, so for me, the research and discovery is all part of the fun!

Why don’t you post source photos?

I do post them, just rarely next to the artwork. There are two main reasons for this. First, so many source photos are in black and white or sepia, and worn with age that combined with the intentional abstract nature of my work, it won’t be an exact likeness. I feel that comparing the art side-by-side with the photo would change how people view the work. They aren’t meant to be exact replicas so much as to convey the scenes, styles of an era, gesture and general features of each person. The idea is definitely not to strip the photographs down the point where the art could be of anybody, rather to bring out the personal details and “essence” of each person or scene without having to have a perfect likeness.

The other reason is that even with online genealogy being what it is, it feels kind of strange to post photos of so many other people who could never have dreamed that their photos would live on hundreds of years later in cyberspace, for the whole world to see. Especially when it’s so easy for others to copy and appropriate those photos out of context. I certainly would not want my middle school photo being used as a reaction Gif 50 years from now, so I give others that same consideration. And, while most of the photos have been given to me, they also contain other people whose families can’t be tracked down and contacted for permission to share.

When I source an image from a public online database, I will link to the photo as part of the citation. I also share some on my Instagram account.

With that said, if you are or see a family member in my art and would like to see the source photo, of course I’ll email it to you. Just let me know!

Can I commission a piece?

Yes! My monotype prints of archival photos are a great fit for public collections in historical associations, libraries, visitor’s bureaus, city halls and courthouses, smaller-town museums and other businesses with a strong local heritage.

Can you come talk to my group/contribute to my publication?

Yes! Talks are virtual for now, but hopefully I can speak to groups in person once public health is stable again. Please contact me for more information, sample topics, and areas of expertise.

Can my organization host an exhibition of your work?

Yes! I will make artwork from the Pine Curtain Project available to temporarily exhibit for local East Texas museums/cultural centers, historical associations or other nonprofit spaces that align with the project’s spirit and perspective. I offer this as a funded loan exhibition if you are simply exhibiting and not presenting the work for sale. This is a package option available on a sliding scale based on your organization’s size and budget.