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....

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Gypsy Wagon Artists' Bookmobile meets The Type Truck

Half way through our first cross country as Wandering Book Artists, Donna and I heard about Kyle Durrie’s project to travel around the country in her TYPE TRUCK. She was demonstrating letterpress printing out of a 1982 step van that she converted to a bedroom/print shop outfitted with a working printing press and type to print with. 

Kyle lives in Silver City, New Mexico. We almost crossed paths one or twice, if you consider being in neighboring states as crossing paths. The last time we were in New Mexico she was in New England. But this time Kyle and the type truck were going to be home, so I routed the trip to pick up Donna at the rim of the Grand Canyon through Silver City to meet Kyle and see the type truck.

Kyle offered to organize a workshop at her Power and Light Print Shop for me to teach while in town. It is located right in the middle of Silver City’s business district. Silver City, founded as a mining town at about 6000 feet elevation now has a population of about 15,000. It is not a big district but has a thriving art and music scene.

1868 printshop in Silver City, used by permission Palace of the Governor,  Santa Fe NM
The class had seven students. Only one had ever made a book before, so everyone was challenged and had great fun learning something new.

Before I left town, I couldn’t resist taking the wandering wagon to meet the type truck. The type truck was beached with a flat so we couldn’t get them as close as hoped for the photo.

Kyle and I started dreaming about what fun it would be to travel around the country with type truck and wandering wagon, perhaps with a few other tiny homes on wheels, demonstrating books arts, giving talks, programming for libraries and playing music at breweries along the way. So, if you have a tiny home on wheels and that sounds fun let us know…