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, February 25, 2013

What’s a Wayzgoose?

Donna writing this blog post

On Saturday February 23, 2013, the Tampa Letterpress Group had their inaugural Wayzgoose. What's a wayzgoose you ask? It is where lots of bookish enthusiasts get together for demonstrations of the crafts and machinery that are involved in the making of a book. The wayzgoose was held at the University of Tampa's book arts lab. They were casting metal type using old monotype and linotype and intertype and ludlow machines. They were showing letterpress printing using Vandercooks, C & Ps, and old hand presses. There were book binding, paste paper and papermaking demos. Peter gave the papermaking demo. There was already a video posted on youtube about the wayzgoose, and Peter's demonstration is featured about halfway through. Here is a link

We had our books on display in the book arts center’s library, and the letterpress books especially received oohs and ahhs. Folks also enjoyed the book earrings (now being made by our daughter Suzanne)! Lots of folks at the wayzgoose were wondering where to get the book jewelry after we left and we promised to give them a link to Suzanne's book jewelry web site, so here is the link:

Earlier this week we taught a class where participants made a book and then we gave a lecture, all at the Jaffe Center at Florida State University in Boca Raton. The class was full of earnest and excited book artists, but here were a few bored looking students who must have been required to attend the lecture. Sorry. But, how bad can it be to listen to a lecture that includes a ukulele player playing book arts folk songs?

We crossed Florida east to west on a 2-lane drive that went past oranges and palms. At one point we passed a bunch of folks riding horses.

We spent time in a campground in an area they call the hammock, where the trees are so thick the light hardly reaches the ground. The campers need to light up their sites and some used some very "different" kinds of lights. 


We arrived in Tampa on Friday. We DID have permission to park in the dirt lot next to the book arts studio, but we were startled awake at midnight by some tough-talking campus police. I love listening to Peter talk his way into their hearts by explaining that, “You have to have a gypsy wagon if you are a book artist traveling around the country showing your work….”

The sea green water and gentle waves of the Gulf shore welcomed us on our rest day. We swam in the warmish water and walked on the white sand beach among throngs of local families as well as tourists at St. Pete’s Beach.

The awesome Florida hospitality continued last night with a al fresco dinner with Carl Nudi in Bradenton. 72 degrees at dinner time is just perfect, don’t you think?


Tanya Cothran said...

But WHY is it called a Wayzgoose? The beach and al fresco dining looks perfectly lovely.

Anonymous said...

hmmm, kind of begs the question...whats a goose way? (sorry). Hope you are well and happy you are WARM! Scraping the windshield 4 mornings out of 5 here in Felton but happy to be here. Enjoy your travels! Beth A...Matt sends greetings!!!

Stephanie said...

Wonderful pics and thanks for sharing! I enjoy keeping posted on the amazing travel adventures of Peter and Donna!
Which forest is it that is so dense that sunlight barely reaches the forest floor? What did it smell like?
How many pages in the earring books? Will there be plug books in the future?
Much love and see you when you are back:-)
Stephanie and Sam