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....

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The "Best Time Ever" in Colorado

We left the hot springs at Ojo Caliente on the "most beautiful" road...

And we have driven a lot of roads on this trip. We have also visited many parks and museums. I have noticed that they all seem to want to impress their visitors that they have the "largest" or the "most" or the "oldest" or the "most spectacular" something-or-other thing.

The Great Sand Dunes National Monument , located in southern Colorado are the "tallest" sand dunes in North America.

The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument near Colorado Springs are the "richest and most diverse fossil deposits in the world." These 3 petrified stumps at the monument are coast redwoods! This used to be the coast 3 million (or billion, I forget exactly) years ago. They are definitely the "oldest" redwoods I have ever visited.

Peter and Donna with James Ascher and Ray Tomasso.

Our long-time papermaking friend Ray Tomasso from Englewood, Colorado is now officially the "best" and our "favorite" papermaker. We thought he was just hosting our bookarts classes in his "Inter-Ocean Curiousity Studio," but actually, he somehow talked librarians James P. Ascher and Deborah Fink from the University of Colorado in Boulder, into planning a show of our work in Special Collections, to coincide with the current show of his art at the library.

Peter and I arrived at the library in Boulder where Peter was going to give a talk at the reception that evening, Ray casually showed us the catalog for the show of our work. We were the "most" surprised we had ever been.

We knew nothing about this! Ray made the paper, letterpress printer Tom Parson printed the cover, and James wrote a fantastic text for the catalog. Special Collections librarian Chris Levine kindly kept the library open after hours for the event.

Peter gave his talk. It was filmed by CU, and I'm so glad it was. It was one of his "best talks" ever. The website for the University of Colorado’s "Scriptalab" program will post the video, which they plan to use as an educational tool in university classes.

Ray's truck and his artwork being moved into the library

The evening was also the opening reception for Ray's show in the library, "Exhibition of Works in Cast Paper." Wow they are beautiful and BIG paper art pieces. If you are near Boulder, please go and see them. Not to be out done by any other library, CU was also
Diane has posted on Ray's paper art blog about the show and opening here.

And not to be out done by any other library, to make this CUs "biggest and best" event ever, it was also the opening night for a show of work by members of the Rocky Mountian Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers.

The next two days, with the wagon nestled in Ray's back yard, Peter taught book binding and book art classes in Ray's studio.

Ray has the "most comprehensive collection of old printing and papermaking equipment" that I know of. He also keeps it all running. The odd inter-ocean curiousity lives back there too...

Like this. This must be the "biggest pig-cooking cauldron" I have ever seen. If you ever come across one for sale, let me know... it would make the "best" bathtub, being pulled behind the Gypsy Wagon....


Cynthia Nicole said...

Gorgeous photos at the sand dunes! I just noticed your images are finally linked to larger versions. Yea!
You 2 are such sweeties. This blog is making me long to make paper.

RetroDuo Meanderings said...

You make us want to return to the road ourselves. Splendid photos and such an interesting commentary. The mix of "travelers in new places" and "the craft of paper and prose" is fascinating. What a rich experience!