TRAVELING IN A TINY HOME THAT THEY SAY IS AN ARTISTS' BOOK ON WHEELS

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 other vendors had made to sleep in or use as booths to sell their wares from. In 2009 they built their own tiny home "caravan", designed after a typical 1900s Redding style of English Gypsy Wagon. This blog documents their trips around the country to sell their books, teach book arts workshops, and talk about making books as art; and to seek out and find beauty in the landscape of the USA.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Wandering is great even if only for a week


The Friends of Dard Hunter papermaking group met last week for a regional conference in Santa Barbara and we took the opportunity to travel in the caravan for a mini-wandering.
First thing we taught a bookbinding class. It held in the house of fellow FDH member (and current president) Jill Littlewood.
Here are the finished books with their maker's hands.

We had a blast making margaritas in Jimmy Yarnell's tiny "cocktail beater". Obligatorily, we first beat some rag pulp in during the papermaking fair, then cleaned it out, added the tequilla and lemons and the rest of the magic mix. Thanks for the beater Jim.
A toast to a fun and inspiring conference!

No wandering book artists blog post is complete without some kind of odd vehicle thing. This is a picture of an old restaurant made with trolley cars as bookends to the building. It's located in Buellton and is just about ready to be bulldozed to make room for housing, so let us know if you want to save the trolleys and we'll give you the contact number...

We drove some backroads of California, leaving 101 at Santa Maria, traveling in a generally north eastern direction. We camped by the side of the road at a beautiful Los Padres National Forest hiking trailhead parking lot. (Actually it was probably for hunters or off roaders, but that does not sound quite as romantic.)

Ah, it feels good to wander in the wilderness...
We took a sunset hike on a dusty trail through the chapparal, then played some cowboy tunes before sleep.

Did you know that California has areas richer in oil than water? The town of Maricopa was built by folks who figured they could make some money by extracting the stuff in the early 1900's. Good idea!

Driving on the "Petroleum Highway, we stopped in for a visit to the Maricopa Museum. Across the street at Tina's diner we got all the info about the town. An old timer who owned his own oil well toured us through the museum. He said that the museum would close when he dies because none of the young folks value history, and no one stays in town anyway. (Maricopa, "elevation 600, population 600".)

Here is a vintage photo of the "Lakeview Gusher," which spewed 100,000 barrels a day of oil for months back in 1910 in Maricopa.


An abandoned pomegranate tree in town provided us with abundant treasure in pomegranates!

Well that's it for our wandering till next year. See you at CBAA in January, or come join Peter at the Feb 3-4 ACM Book Studies Conference, The Past, Present, and Future of the Book, at Cornell College in Iowa.

One more thing! A radio article about a fellow who followed our "Muir Ramble Route" on a bike across California can be heard here.