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....

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Almost back on the road

Hi everyone,

We are ready to start a new trip... almost. First we will be showing our books at the CODEX Book Fair in Richmond, CA. 

On February 15, 2015 we will fly back to the gypsy wagon, which is currently parked with our truck in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and we will start a westward trek. Our first stop will be the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC where Peter will teach a week long introduction to the ukulele class. After leaving Brasstown we will head to Chattenooga to teach a class, then Middle Tennessee University in Murfreesboro, Nashville, Louisville, St. Louis, Memphis, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and home. If you are on our route and would like to meet up with us let us know. Send us an email or call!

While we have been home, between the last two trips, we have been having a great time playing music with several bands. This last winter we started a jug band called the Mariposa Trolley Drops and have been leading monthly sing alongs.

Here is a link to a part of a song by part of one of the bands: 

Before we left on the last road trip we made a CD  titled Book Arts Folk Songs, which had 14 songs about the book arts, that I had written, in the folk song tradition, based on the tunes and lyrics of popular songs. We performed these as sing alongs on our last road trip and look forward to more book arts sing alongs on the upcoming trip. Here is a link to more about book arts folk songs:

While home this fall and winter we have been constantly working on new book projects. Donna has made several a one of a kind books, and an editioned book with only 5 copies using original water color paintings she made in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. The text is a poem by the poet ranger Jay Leeming that has been hand written in a calligraphic manner. 

I have been working on an editioned book, which will have about 50 copies. This book reprints by permission of the poet, Gary Snyder, his seminal poem Paiute Creek. Gary Snyder drew much of his early inspiration from his studies of eastern religions, and to acknowledge this debt we will print the poem on a single, very long, sheet of paper and bind it using a scroll binding structure.

Before writing this post I was just searching the internet and found that a fellow named Frank Cost, who is  a professor of photographics arts and sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology, had  posted a video on youtube about his visit with us when we were on campus at RIT last September. Here is a link to his post:

One last word about book and media. The next issue of Fairie Magazine will feature an article about us and our travels in our gypsy wagon. Here is a link for the magazine:

Hope to see you on our travels,

Peter and Donna Thomas

1 comment:

Folding wagons said...

Thanks for posting about your trip to RISD