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....

Monday, April 5, 2010

California green

We departed on Saturday morning to a crowd of cheering friends and family, after christening the gypsy wagon with good Whitlock Red wine! We passed by the Harbor where the ukulele crowd was playing and probably 100 ukers in easter party hats filed in and out of the wagon in 10 minutes!

Pinnacles National Monument was the destination for the day- a nice short drive- and the scenery out the windows was long green waving grasses under the new-leaved spreading oaks. We actually were so exhausted after the last few days of pushing to be ready to leave that we took a nap before heading out on a walk up the arroyo from the campsite. Goldfields, lupine, ranunculas, wild cucumber, poppies, Chinese pagodas and larkspur were just a few of the many blooming wildflowers we saw on the walk. I was also so happy to see children running wild in the tall grass in the oak forest. How free they were, not a sight I see much at home, where parents are too worried to let kids out by themselves.

On Sunday morning, the grass was icy outside, and the only noise was the turkey vultures unfolding their wings and readying themselves to rise back up to the ridge where they will spend the day riding the updrafts off the arroyo. After tea and granola, we expected to go walking in the park again. But our neighbors stopped by and in a fashion we expect to occur many times this trip, we got to talking about the gypsy wagon. Tim is a photographer with a lot of Photoshop knowledge, so he was able to teach Peter how to create a panoramic photo by merging three photos into one. So above you see the gypsy wagon interior.


We expected to drive clear down to Carrizo Plain, but with another interruption by curious folks in the one-house town of Lonoak (the other photo above), by lunchtime we had gone so few miles, a fraction of the total distance. Rain came next, and we decided to plunge into the next plan of the trip, which is to beg for a place to park the wagon for the night. Peter is so much braver than I. I stayed in the truck and peered at him talking to a landowner who just happened to drive up to her driveway as we decided we didn’t want to drive much further.

As a result of Peter’s fearlessness, we are now camping in a pullout at the top of a hill on a one-lane road, with a view for miles of oak grassland and round bumpy hills. The rain is falling on the roof, we are dry and out the window a family of quail is scuttling around in the wet grass.




gcunning said...

Groovy looks like a blast! See you at Spring Strawberry! GC

Tanya Cothran said...

Sounds beautiful! I love those big California landscape views of rolling hills and oaks trees. Make sure you take lots of pictures!
Love, tc

Polly said...

Beautiful descriptions and photos, you two! (nice photoshopping, too) Can't wait to read more,