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, September 1, 2014

Porridge Papers, Lincoln Nebraska

When we were at the University Library in Lincoln, Nebraska we were told about a strip of commercial buildings with a commercial printer, a letterpress printer, a hand bindery, a paper mill and a pawnshop - all in a row. We had to take a look. Kevin Oliver runs the Signature Bindery and Christopher James runs Porridge Papers. We neglected to take pictures of the bindery or presses in action (sorry about that) but did get some pictures of the paper mill.

Christopher has two full time employees. They have a beater made by Mark Landers that beats about 30 pounds of recycled fiber at a time. They run three beater loads a day and produce a darn lot of paper with some pretty simple equipment and a lot of hard work.

The beater with a hydro-pulper in the background. The series of PVC pipes allow Christopher to run 30 pounds of pulp thru the pulper in one load.

The beater room has two vats. Here are two views of one of the vats.

The stack dryers are in a separate room with three levels.

Their finished paper is sold for specialty commercial uses like wedding announcements, gift cards, beer coasters, etc.

1 comment:

susiek said...

I know you've stopped in Indianapolis before, but I've missed you. I don't see Indy on your itinerary this time, but there is a newish bookstore downtown. Here is their link. Maybe you could work a stop out with them. Would love to see your wagon and meet you.

Susie Kraeszig