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, March 23, 2011

Sheriff here! Open the Door!!!

We pulled into a vacant parking lot at an empty warehouse to sleep last night. We figure a neighbor must have complained about Gypsies in the neighborhood, or the fact that a random GYPSY CARAVAN was parked by a vacant warehouse, because some time long after we were already asleep there was a pounding on the door, and a gruff voice yelling, “Sheriff! Open the door!” I’m thinking, “Can’t I just pretend I am asleep?”

Peter leaps up, still in his PJs, he opens the door. “Hi!”

A decidedly mellower voice then enquires, “What exactly is this wagon anyway? And what is a “book artist?”

Peter, ever the educator extraordinaire, uses this midnight intrusion as an opportunity to share about what we are up to! He also is so pleased to be able to tell her that having a sheriff tell us to leave is EXACTLY what wandering book gypsies would expect to happen….throughout history the police have always been telling gypsies to move on.

She lets us off with a warning, imploring us to “PLEASE ASK the owners next time if you can park on their PRIVATE property.”

This is the very sleepy warehouse lot where we were visited by the sheriff last night.

Once again we visited the Lilly Library at Indiana University in Bloomington. We opened the caravan door and put out books. Curious students and faculty toured and admired. Also, a radio show host, Adam Schwartz interviewed us, mostly Peter, for a show he is developing to air later. We’ll let you know when we know about the airing place and time. It was a good introduction to the wandering ways again to talk about books, the wandering life, the beautiful gypsy wagon and the sunny warmth of spring in Indiana.

Peter and the radio guy, AJ at IU.

Now we are camping out in the knobs and hardwoods of southern Indiana. Ahhhh.

Sunset and the daffodils that EVERYONE grows in their yards here...


tma said...

Nice start Big Brother will follow you it follows me everyday with my gps tracking device that costs taxpayers money to make sure the rat man doesn't wander off assigned route.
Good luck on your trip Peter and Donna I miss you already! Sweet Pea

Jeff Grell said...

Hi Peter, Donna,
You guys inspire me to do great things in my life. Following a dream is what it should be all about. I brought Anne home from ucsf yesterday and this morning got to read your latest update. I enjoyed the Sheriff story. Have fun.

Margery Moran said...

My goodness... that could be a illustrated little story in itself... modern day gypsy harassment... of course, apologies to the property owner. I mean, where does one park a huge truck with a gypsy wagon in tow? Your safety is necessary as well. I digress... Yes, keep documenting your trails. Makes for good stories! (And Peter in his pj's, and Donna in her cap, had just settled down for a long winter's nap...) Tee-heeeee.....

boyd said...

Don't let me catch ya alls wagon in my parkin lot again here. What a great start more please.

Velma said...

saw you were out and about again, happy trails.

Desert Paper, Book and Wax said...

Sending love to the wanderers aka book gypsies! have a safe, fun and inspirational journey~ Love from your little Tucson parking space, C&R