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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Saturday, March 30, 2019

What Captures the Attention of a Wandering Book Artist?

When we wander our attention has been captured by seemingly random things, (as those of you who have read our blog carefully can attest to.) And we often wonder which of those topics have interested you the most? How about Typography?

A page from the book that Tom and James printed in 2018 at the Palace of the Governors Print shop, featuring prints from Gustave Baumann's original woodcut blocks
Sheet music from a display at the New Mexico Museum of Art
Sheet music again
Our friend Mark has an exceptional ephemera collection, these are old almanacs. But not just any kind of almanac, they are ones published by what he calls "quack medicine" companies. You know, snake oil, magic elixirs and the like. 
Just how many type faces belong in one advertisement?

Or how about the printers and papermakers, university librarians, book arts classes, etc. that we visited:

Tom Leech, from The Print Shop at the Palace of the Governors,
in Santa Fe, NM
What happens in Las VEGAS, NM, stays in Vegas!
Peter in the plaza with a very tall guy
Peter talking to a class in the library at Colorado College,
which includes playing the ukulele book.
Mark and Peter outside the caravan door, talking printing and type, etc. in Sheridan, CO 
Peter talking with Ray Tomasso, who has been our papermaking and printing friend since the 1980s. He is the proprietor of Inter-Ocean Curiosity  Studio in Englewood, CO. He is currently experimenting with CMC-ing wood type.

Or how about pretty stuff we have come across:

Tin work, Las Vegas, NM
Painting inspirations, NM
Super nice landscape painting in Fine Arts Center at Colorado College
Donna looking at a different series of paintings at the Fine Arts Center

Or how about pictures of the caravan out enjoying nature:

Our campsite beside a beautiful rocky bluff to take walks on at the campground at Pueblo Lake State Park, CO
The Rocky Mountains beside us where we parked for the night on the Colorado College campus in Colorado Springs, CO
More like 15 hours
Now tucked in for a few months in Sheridan, CO, thanks to Mark 
And it snowed the day after we tucked it in. The tarp worked perfectly. 

We will be flying back to California tomorrow to make more books and arrange the next trip in October 2019. We will visit Jim and Melody of Old Ways Workshops in Santa, Idaho, visit a 40 year show of our work at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, and stop in Seattle, Portland and Eugene.

As a sort of afterword to this final post before flying home, for those of you who were waiting to see the pictures of the interesting or curious vehicles we passed on the way, we don't have any because we didn't see any. But luckily, Mark's collection of Quackery ephemera saved the day, as we found this nice illustration of a medicine show wagon in one of the advertisements.

1 comment:

Tanya Cothran said...

I love all those elaborate type faces! Looks like you had a lot of great visits with folks!