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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Monday, April 5, 2021

Vardos, gypsy wagons and other rolling homes we have seen on the road

As we sheltered in place over the last year, with no travel on the horizon, we spent time looking through the pictures we took while traveling as wandering book artists. 

When we first left home in 2019, Jay Shafer had just published his first articles and videos about tiny homes. Our gypsy wagon was a show stopper on the road and in the campgrounds. People would follow us in their cars trying to get a better look. They would stop us at the gas station or store to ask "What is that?" This was before we understood the concept of cultural appropriation led us to reconsider calling our tiny home on wheels a "gypsy wagon". Within a few years there was a tiny home show on TV and people began asking, "Is that a tiny home? I've always wanted to see one!" A few years after that people began saying, "I like your tiny home. My cousin is building one... (or I am gathering the parts to build one this summer..."

Now there are multiple websites, blogs, and facebook groups dedicated to tiny homes, and most people call "gypsy wagons" by the Romani word "vardo". 

We thought you would enjoy seeing all the various forms of rolling homes found while traveling the USA between 2019 and 2020. Some of these photos, and their stories, will be found featured in previous blog posts, but it seemed a worthy project to gather them all together in one post.

Above: For reference, this is what our tiny home on wheels looks like in Western Nebraska.
Below: The many interesting tiny homes we saw on our trips around the US.