Peter and Donna Thomas have been making fine press and artist's books for over 40 years. When they started, as craftspeople at Renaissance Faires, they fell in love with the graceful beauty of "gypsy wagon" caravans that other vendors had made to sleep in or use as booths for selling their wares. In 2009 Peter and Donna built their own tiny home on wheels, designed after a typical late 19th century Redding Wagon. This blog documents their trips around the country, taken to sell their artists' books, teach book arts workshops, and talk about making books as art; as well as to seek out and experience the beauty of the many different landscapes found across the USA.

Peter and Donna started their business in 1977 and made their first book in 1978, so from 2017-18 are traveling to celebrate 40 years of making books with shows in a dozen libraries across the country. See the schedule on the side bar to find if they are coming to a town near you....

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Gypsy Wagon

This is the first post so we should introduce ourselves. Our names are Peter and Donna Thomas and this blog will document our travels as wandering book artists. When we say that we are book artists it means that we make books as artworks, like painters make paintings. We work both collaboratively and individually, letterpress printing or hand-lettering and illustrating texts, making paper, and hand binding both fine press and artists’ books. We have been making books for over 30 years. We got our start at the California Renaissance Pleasure Faires in the 1970-80s where we were the papermakers and bookbinders. While working at those fairs we fell in love with the "gypsy wagons" the tarot readers had built to use as their booths. In 2009 we decided to build our own wagon, designed after a typical 1900s Redding style English Gypsy Wagon, and take it on a cross country road trip to sell our books, teach classes and give talks about the changing nature of the book in the digital age. We are just about ready to leave on our trip and have started this blog to document the trip.

Peter and Donna Thomas - Santa Cruz, CA - March, 2010