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

Wandering again!!

Santa Cruz 55 degrees, rain. Bloomington, Indiana, 77 degrees, warm, sunny and the caravan is rolling again!

We are picking up where we left off in October. After spending the winter at home in Santa Cruz we have returned to our gypsy wagon in Bloomington. Already the adventure is in full swing. We flew to Indianapolis, with two 49-pound check-on bags and two probably 59-poundcarry-on bags, loaded with books we made last winter, workshop materials, maps and a few new clothes. Howie Clark of Twinrocker Handmade Paper met us at the airport and drove to Jim Canary’s house in Bloomington via Geoff Davis’s Blue Stone Folk School in Noblesville, a suburb of Indianapolis. Howie and Geoff are in a band that plays many of the Hoosier Hotshot’s great novelty tunes, and we spent the evening jamming in the folk school. Peter learned a few Hotshot tunes to take to John C. Campbellwhen he teaches his Introduction to the Ukulele class week after next. His favorite was “I like Bananas because they have no bones.” In true musician style we arrived at Jim’s house about 2 am.

Jim Canary in his handmade house/bindery/printshop/conservation lab!

The next morning we started up the truck ( on the first crank!) that had been stored at Jim’s. We headed for the Dam Boathouse where our gypsy wagon spent the winter, dreading what we might find after the snow and cold temps of the winter. The wagon was in perfect condition and it only took a few minutes to pul it out.

The stored caravan with the stored boats. (different kinds of fun!)

Now if you want to talk about angels in disguise, lets talk about Howie. We took our truck to get the oil changed and mentioned the fact that we never drove at night because there was some problem with the trailer wiring and when we drive at night the left tail lights blow out. (Remember the night in Vermont when we got pulled over for that?) Howie said, “We have an hour how about I crawl under the trailer and see if I can find a short.” Right, we spent hours and hours last year trying to figure out the problem, but we humored him and let him go for it. Five minutes later he had found the short and another hour later it was fixed, and the oil changed, tires rotated and we were ready to wander the open road.

Donna and Howie inspecting the newly-opened caravan.

1 comment:

Betty D said...

I love your website and will follow you closely this year. I am so glad I met you this year while you were camping at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. I hope you will come back and visit with us longer next time. Thank you so much for being with us. Betty Doyle Campground supervisor.