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....

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Indoor and Outdoor Libraries in Atlanta

Hiking in De Kalb county park with Julie Newton, a conservator at Emory College, we came upon an outdoor found art gallery. Trails lined with installations, one was a scrolling tree mounted artists'  books. We even found a Free Library.

The Free Library movement is awesome. A little box full of books, mounted on a pole with a roof over it. Books free for the taking. Such a friendly way to share something you love with neighbors, with anyone who passes by your house. When we spent the week in Atlanta both friends we stayed with had “Free Libraries” out in front of their houses. People stopped by on a regular basis, some even exchanging new books for old! Both said that they have regulars that have become friends, and regulars who they only recognize but have never spoken with. Both actually “curate” the libraries in their boxes so the selection will remain interesting. They remove books that have been in the box too long. They both are constantly on the lookout for new books to add, and every once in the while even go buy children’s books to have for one of their “regulars”.

As part of our 40-year celebration the libraries at both Emory and Savannah College of Art and Design had up shows with our books on display.

But then libraries are not limited to books. On our way to Brasstown, NC, at Blood Mountain, in Georgia near the southern end of the Appalachian Trail, we found one more library; a ‘library’ of shoes - hanging from the branches of a tree. Some worn out by hiking from the Canadian border, others hardly worn at all, only for a week or so since the start of the trail a bit south of there, obviously the wrong size or shape for the wearer. And like the little free libraries, these shoes are free for the taking if you can find your size and style, and if you can climb high enough.

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