On our first trip as Wandering Book Artists we went from the Golda Meir Library in Milwaukee to the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center without stopping in Chicago. Donna said she never wanted to go into a big city with the gypsy wagon. Well, never say “Never.” This trip Paul Gehl asked us to stop by the Newberry Library, and how could we refuse. It wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be and led to a few great photos of the wagon causing traffic jams on busy Chicago streets.
Just before entering the Eastern Time zone we spent a night with Andrea Peterson, Jon Hook and their family at Hook Pottery Paper near La Porte, Indiana. On our last visit Andrea taught us how to spray pulp through stencils to create imagery in handmade paper and we wanted to show her what we had done with the process. This we lucked out to be there when they were having a wood fired oven pizza party!
Did you know that Indiana is all split up with the time zones? We didn’t either (the zones were set keeping in mind Chicago and Louisville TV broadcasting areas rather than geography) so we were an hour late getting to the Tri-state Bluegrass Festival in Kendallville, Indiana to meet up with Howie Clark. Besides being one of America’s best know papermakers (TwinrockerHandmade Paper) Howie is a regionally recognized old timey and blue grass musician. And yes, he was in the seminal 2005 Dard Hunter Conference Band in Chillicothe, OH, when the Book Arts Folk Songs were first performed live in the Chillicothe Opera House.
But let’s get back to the bluegrass festival. It is a three-day event, the largest in the tri-state area, with about 2000 attending. Most of the other folks were camping in beige RVs, trailers or fifth-wheels, so all eyes were on the wagon as we pulled in. We set up camp, did some laundry and hung it to dry. The laundry might explain why, but the people who stopped by to see the wagon (and that was at the rate of about ten every five minutes) kept asking, “Is that a gypsy wagon? Are you gypsies?” We told everyone, “No, we are book artists, but ‘sometimes we pretend’ we are gypsy”. We thought it was a clever reply because then we would show them what an artist book was, pulling out our most recent book, which is titled “Sometimes I Pretend.” Click on the link to see the book. It works with a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye. That book, as all our books, is made with our own handmade paper. The illustrations were made by spraying pulp using the technique we learned from Andrea Peterson.
Everything comes round in a big circle, doesn’t it? And this week we will be circling around Michigan. Then we will be driving up to Rochester, NY, and after that heading out to New England. We are planning a book arts folk song sing along in the Boston area, so let us know if you want to attend.