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 27, 2011

Flash! ... KaBOOM!!!

Lightning flashed and thunder boomed right outside the wagon and I could see the whites of Peter’s startled eyes. “I’ve never been so close to lightning before! The thunder reverberated in my chest!” We were just minding our own business playing our ukuleles inside the heated cozy wagon. The rain loudly pounded on the copper roof, as we sang, “Hard times, hard times, come again no more.”

But I will back up. “L is for Louisville” is what I was supposed to title this post. We visited the libraries in University of Louisville, in Kentucky, where the novelist who writes the alphabet murder mysteries, Sue Grafton went to school. But no murder mysteries to tell of besides that we happened to be listening on our ipod to one of her stories. Peter talked to a class of ESL students and what they were most interested in was the uke book and the caravan. 

They took multiple photos of different groupings of friends by the front door and all planned to start playing ukulele very soon.

We had the campground to ourselves in Cumberland Falls State Park, Kentucky, where the temp never rose above 40 degrees.


We are still getting things organized. 

The falls are thundering and greeny-brown with this year’s plastic trash tangled at the high water mark.

In Knoxville, we had permission to park on private property next to a Jerry’s Artarama store. We didn’t realize it was right next to some mainline railroad tracks. The locomotives could be heard from FAR off as they roared their way to us and then as they flew by a few yards away every couple of hours. Luckily Peter and I can fall back asleep easily so were not too tired when the Knoxville Book Arts Guild toured the wagon and looked at books in the freezing weather on Saturday morning. 

that's a train back there.

There was a lot of analyzing of the structures of our books by this group. They obviously are an active binding group.

We pulled into the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina last night in the rain, cooked a curry vegetable dinner and drank some local Tennessee beer. All night the storm raged but by morning the air was still and we could walk around the folk school’s awesome crafts’ studios. We will spend two weeks here teaching in this lovely rural setting.

Louisville, Knoxville, Brasstown. Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina. We are in the south, in the Appalachian Mountains now, where the trees are just barely showing this year’s new leaves and the spring rains are flooding the low draws.

Last minute: The tiny house blog has done a story about us:

Check it out here.


Tanya Cothran said...

I like the picture of the caravan in that nice rustic setting! Your train story reminds me of the campground/RV park that Boyd and I stayed in near Bozeman, MT. The hostess gave us earplugs as we checked in because the campground was right between the main highway and a railway track - and we had a rain storm! Good times. :)

Ken from Greeley Hill said...

M is for Meet you along the way somewhere? Teri and I are hoping to get an East Coast birding trip in this spring ( actually it's more my hope than Teri's :-) and I am thinking it would be really neat to share a beer with you both along the way. See birds? Have the migratory species showed up yet? Are you coming anywhere near Muir's 1,000 mile walk? Teri and I will be at the premier of the new PBS Muir documentary on 4/13 at UOP. The new web site for John Muir Highway is going up on Sunday. You two are prominent in it.

Thanks for the blog - luv your interaction with young minds eager to learn- tell your new acquaintances they can have fun at the Muir Celebration on June 4th and please ask them to join the FB Fan Club for more info from the growing virtual community, catch you later....stay safe.