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....

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Indiana Homestead to Cleveland Art Center

Our friends John Hook and Andrea Peterson and their boys Ry and Lu are living the good artistic life in northeastern Indiana. Their garden, goats and chickens feed them and keep them busy with their upkeep. They work in their papermaking and ceramics studios to produce prints and pots under the name “Hook Pottery Paper” and offer classes in both. A sign hangs by the driveway inviting customers and another sign is added for “fresh eggs” when the chickens are particularly productive.


Peter and I spent 2 days with the family, making another broadside for the trip series. This time we made a handmade paper piece in the shape of the caravan, with a 2-color stenciled pulp painting applied to the surface featuring a bright red chicken! I am happy that this piece will add some whimsy and color to the series.

Andrea in the beater room with her hot pink and green press in front.


Andrea attaching the shaped stencil to the mold:

Pulling the 2 shaped papers: Peter, Andrea, Donna and Allan (assistant):

Donna holding finished papers on pellon:

A highlight for me was the party the family hosted for us the eve we arrived (after a crazy drive from Milwaukee via Chicago on a busy rush hour interstate with lots of road work happening….). Lu was masterful with the outdoor pizza oven, making probably over 25 pizzas to order! John made the nice real sourdough crust (I got some starter for the road!) The guests brought an item of old cotton clothing to add to the papermaking beater for our project. Ry helped us park in the yard and guided us back out again. He appeared the instant he heard me squeal when Peter started backing into traffic!

On Wednesday afternoon, we were hosted by the Morgan Conservatory for a bookmaking class. Peter taught 13 people how to make a scrolling book and a nested accordion structure. Even in the humid and hot weather of Cleveland in August, the creative process took control and many very nice books were produced. One participant, Ginny wrote about it on her blog. The Morgan C. hosts lots of cool classes throughout the year in a fantastic facility, check it out.



tma said...

I wanna see a picture of the pizza's!!!You guys are having a blast! No Fall Strawberry for yous tho. bye bye!GC

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