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, 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.

1 comment:

Tanya Cothran said...

Wow! That pomegranate tree is awesome! The beater/margarita maker looks like it was a great hit! Looks like a good time on the road.