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....

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Mexico: Land, lotsa land

We made this book from old printers ornaments that Karla Elling loaned us last year. The guy who wrote that song must have been thinking about New Mexico. (Yes, I know it was Cole Porter)

New Mexico has charmed us. We love the blue sky, clear breezes and laid back attitude. Remember our first day camping in New Mexico, at Clayton, where we spent the whole day in the gypsy wagon because of the wind, well our second camping experience, near Eagle Nest, was the complete opposite. A sleety snow kept us in the caravan for the day, but we had fun anyways. We played music, read and baked cookies.

Down in Eagle Nest and we visited their new museum, home to an annual mountain man rendezvous, filled with "primitive arts" stuff on display. What an awesome and desolate setting, don't you think?

Driving towards Taos, we stopped for lunch at this old adobe plus log cabin rancho. Hey Jim or Jeff, do you want a new project? We like this place.

We had a huge parking mess up trying to get turned around in the driveway of our papermaking friend Priscilla Robinson's in Taos. It looked like we could just pull it around, but we got stuck jack-knifed into a corner. It took over an hour to get out of the jam by finally taking the trailer off and dragging it with a chain. This may have been the gypsy wagon gods telling us we had become to cocky about our trailer backing/parking abilities... No pictures of it though. It was too embarrassing.

A beautiful sky from the driveway at Priscilla's.

The Taos Book Arts group held a workshop for us in one of the nicest studios we have taught in so far.

I guess what made it nice was the beautiful oil paintings on the walls by Dinah Worman:

This painting by Dinah is called "Taos Mountain."

We spent a night with Peter's mom's friend Sue Westbrook. She's got a gallery in town called "Taos Blue" and has a great eye for the magical in the land and in art. She plans to open a Spiritual Road House and use old sheep wagons or home made houses for the rooms. We were able to give her all sorts of great mobile housing ideas.

Now for the last and best in New Mexico: We taught a class at Ojo Caliente Hot Springs Resort, and got to stay overnight and soak in the pools and a hike up into the hills behind the resort.

We parked in the plaza by the entryway to the spa.

Just after sunrise, we hiked 2 miles up to an old mica mine. The ground sparkled under our feet and we felt like children in a fairy land with treasure all around.

We brought a little home to work with in books.

Soaking in the 108 degree water. Ahh.

But thats all for now. We have to get back to more driving and some the book arts events planned in Colorado!


katzenjammy said...

Oh! Oh! Pretty please bring some mica with you to Denver? See you Saturday!

GrellBoards said...

You know I love a fixer upper. Thanks for thinking of me and have a great time in Colorado. They still have record breaking snow in the highcountry so the water should be running high. Take your time through the west is is truly a magical place. jg

Kirsten said...

lovely oils indeed! I loved NM too when I visited as a teen and always wanted to go back. Enjoy your 4 corners touring....

Cynthia Nicole said...

Reading about snow in Colorado. Thinking of you must be having another adventure.

Cari Ferrraro said...

Isn't Ojo Caliente just the best hot springs? I had such a lovely time there on a day trip from classes at Ghost Ranch, so relaxing, or maybe it was the lithium water from the hand pump in the courtyard . . .