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, April 20, 2011

Take the last gypsy wagon to Clarkesville…

Today we didn’t monkey around. We got up early and drove to Clarkesville, to Austin Peay State University. Last night there was another THUNDERSTORM and the power was out at the Patterson-Marx home when we left.

Our host at the University was Cindy Marsh who teaches printmaking and book arts. The school bought out an old show card print shop (like Hatch) so they have a bunch of wood type. When we arrived the school seemed vacant. It was. Classes had been canceled for the morning because the STORM had knocked out the power over the U and half the town. Cindy met us there anyway and with the spare time we used her type to print a show card for ourselves.

When the students arrived by around 1 pm, we got down to business. We set up our gypsy wagon outside the art building and set up our books in the art building foyer. We showed our books and talked to students all day. One girl seemed to look at every book with excitement. She was a printmaking student, recently from India, and said, “I have a language barrier. I have been so worried about taking the book making class that I will have to take next year. I do not know enough words. But looking at your books I see I do not need many words, I can use pictures and colors too. The book can be like a painting.”

That made our wandering into Clarkesville worthwhile.


Tanya Cothran said...

I like that show card that you printed! It's an instant classic. Happy ramblings.

Velma said...

i love what the student learned!