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....

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Gypsy Wagon meets an Art Car

We had the greatest time the last three weeks at the John C. Campbell Folk School. During our final week Peter took a blacksmithing class. He learned enough about forging to make his own needles and will be teaching how to forge a needle this coming summer at Jim Croft's  Old Ways Bookbinding Workshop in Santa, Idaho

Blacksmith Peter made lots of hooks, towel bars and bells, some for the gypsy wagon, some for our other home in Santa Cruz.

Donna took a basketweaving class with instructor Lee Nelson, mostly using rattan, but also some willow, honeysuckle, bittersweet  and kudzu.

Donna's class. Her baskets are the large open one, the two to the left of the large one, and the small handled one inside the large one. She wants to change careers now....

This week focused on recycling and one of the students in the recycled plastic class drove to the folk school in her "art car".

Lisa Shoemaker with her art car. It is decorated with pop beads! So cool and beautiful! Our gypsy wagon was pleased to be parked with kindred wheels.

As we were leaving the folk school we took a photo of our wagon with theirs....

the folk school's wagon

We drove to Asheville to our friend Maggie Cheney's house, just like we did two years ago. Maggie is a dedicated and enthusiastic book artist making some well thought-out books. We had a great session comparing structures and talking about the numerous tools she is so knowledgeable about. Her studio is perfect. Lots of reference books, good light, big table, and a bed in the corner when she gets flummuxed by some crazy book structure.
Maybe she should open a B and B, though, because her hospitality is superb!


So we are on the road again, now in Virginia. We will spend Thanksgiving with just the two of us in a State Park campground. This will be the first Thanksgiving on our own!


Marjorie Hollis said...

If you would rather have a traditional Thanksgiving with our family we would be honored to have you join us. We are a family of artists (just 4 of us) along with our artist friend Paula. I took your class at John C. Campbell Folk School last year and loved it. We live in Olney, Maryland and we are about 20 minutes from Pyramid Atlantic in Silver Spring. My email is Please consider being our guests for Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks!
Marjorie Hollis

Marjorie Hollis said...

oh, and, by the way, two of us are vegetarians so there will be that option, as well!

susiehb said...

I LOVED seeing your quilting work! I know I will not try a kaleidoscope any time soon! ... but it was encouragement for my current quilt project. It is good fun to keep tabs on the creativity you both share, and I thank you for sharing it with us.