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....

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A little more of Pocatello, then Yellowstone

Here is a picture of our Wandering Book Artist’s Bookmobile parked next to the Pocatello Public Library’s Bookmobile. Katherine from Children’s Services is behind this genius idea of heading to the farmer’s market every Saturday and handing free books (donated by other patrons) to every child that wants one. Donna sat with her and she passionately outlined the
value of a public library.

Now, we go to Yellowstone!!!!

Donna and I looked at geysers and hot pots the other visitors looked at our wagon.

We always invite folks to look inside if we find them yearning. After inviting one family in, the dad said, “You are artists, Right?” and the pre-teen daughter said, “This is the most BEAUTIFUL thing I have seen in my ENTIRE life.” Another family flagged us down and the dad said, “My kids want me to buy them one, where can we get one? We stopped to get directions from some rangers and instead of us beginning the conversation, they jump in with, “What’s the story?” I said, “We are on a road trip promoting the idea of more color in campgrounds. RVs are so monochromatic and dull. The ranger said that should go for ranger trucks too. This thing is too white.”

Donna wanted to include these photos of her painting in Yellowstone.

We left Yellowstone late in the afternoon, feeling roasted from wandering all day in the hot high-elevation sun to see the steaming geysers, the bears and the standing petrified tree. After driving an hour or so we stopped on the roadside for dinner at the bend of the Yellowstone River and we were able to back the wagon right up to the water’s edge.

We poured ourselves a glass of wine, just as all good gypsies do and sat in the wagon looking out the door at the mesmerizing river.

“There is someone outside taking pictures,” Donna said. I saw a shadow of the person and stepped out. He was just getting back on his motorcycle to leave, not wanting to bother us. I said, “Would you like to come in?”

“Man would I. You don’t know how much I want to see inside. This really makes my day. I started In the 70s with a school bus. Now I have an RV, but I am kind of living the gypsy life. I make leather hair barrettes and sell them wholesale to western stores. I sold $200 today. I have been going 7 months and have paid for all my food and gas.”
We camped next to the freeway and 2 tipis in Butte, Montana.


Anonymous said...

So much fun! Thank you for keeping us updated! - Michelle (your niece)

kirsten said...

Thanks Peter! Great snippets! Donna - love the shot of you painting with that big waterfall i front of you - looked really familiar!

Audra/ The Vespiary Book Bindery said...

Are you rolling through Missoula by any chance? I'd love a chance to see your get up.

Mary-Ellen Campbell said...

You're doing what I'd love to do. Have been thinking of a book mobile and touring the states when I retire. I'll definitely be following your blog and when you can give more info let me know. I am not too far from your next stop in Scranton. I'm on the NY side of the Delaware outside of Port Jervis. Would love to meet you.
You can learn something about me on my website