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.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Harvest Moon in Salt Lake City

I gave a talk at Ken Sander's Rare Books this afternoon, titled, "The Ascent of the Artists' Book in the Age of the E-reader". While hiking the John Muir Trail this summer I met 4 or 5 people carrying Kindles. Doesn't sound like the wilderness, does it? They are lightweight, hold too much information, and are easy to read at night in the tent with only a little head light, so they are perfect for the wilderness. I've decided to get one. For reading, to get information, they are really the way to go and will only get better. The good news is that because of that, people will start appreciating Artists' Books for the qualities they miss in e-readers, the texture of the paper, the smell, the feel of motion as they turn the page and the intimate relationship with the object. I believe that using the e-reader will create more respect for artists' books (as artworks rather than just dressed-up information.)





It was a real treat to find Duncan Phillips, son of U. Utah Phillips, in the audience at Ken Sanders Book Shop. Last time we were at the bookshop we made a book and gave the sales as donations to his "Long Memory Project," a continuation of his father's charity fundraising efforts. He gets together with other musicians to play his dad's songs, with Duncan playing his dad's guitar. You get nothing but good feelings from his effort and this music!


Donna with Melissa Sanders at the MBS book fair


After that we went over to the Movable Book Society's annual meeting and book fair that was going on at the Hilton. The society celebrates books that move within the covers, like pop-ups. We explained to the conference host, Ann Montanaro, that our gypsy wagon was really an artists' book. The very colorful outer "binding" protects and conceals the contents while it lures the beholder in. And opening the door, like opening the cover of a book, brings the viewer and reader to the interior "content" of the book/wagon. Then we tried to convince her that because it actually moves (on it's beautifully decorated wheels) it is probably the best possible example of a movable book. She was not convinced, but agreed to pose for a photo by the gypsy wagon as if she were.....



On Monday Donna and I are off to Brigham Young and Weber State Universities, then we head for Nebraska.

3 comments:

Cynthia Nicole said...

Hi you two-
Can you guys make your photos larger? They're way too small!

Peter and Donna Thomas said...

We will try that, Cynthia. We are always in questionable bandwidth zones!

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing...