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, April 28, 2010

Tucson, sky prevailing (more art today)

Paloma in Catherine and Rob's garden, Tucson

As you can tell, I love it when there are what seem to be coincidences and magic that happen in my life. Like running into Barbara at the library "coincidentally", someone I had never met before, but who was in Peter's book making class today. Or the Jerome gypsy wagon vortex thing, or the completely out of the blue allowing of the caravan to be hauled through the campus to the art museum even though fire marshals and security people said it couldn't be done. When I am traveling I notice the magic much more. Well, we are living at the edge, we don't always know where we will sleep, where we will get enough sun for the solar panels to keep our fridge and lights and computers going, or if anyone will attend the talks we give. We are depending on the goodwill of a lot of people to pull this trip off. And the people we have met have been top notch people. 
Catherine Nash, a paper and book artist is hosting us here in Tucson. She and her husband Rob Renfrow have built a very functional and beautiful workshop space next door to their home. They take turns teaching book, paper, encaustic painting and photographic arts as Desert Paper, Book and Wax, and have guest teachers too. It is their living, yes, but it is much more. They believe strongly that we are all artists and our expressions have relevance and importance and can bring joy and meaning into our lives! Their classes bring together people looking to enliven and add color to their lives, and many have formed friendships out of taking those classes together. I admire their service.

Today Peter taught a class here in making scroll books. A friend from long ago, Mabel Dean, showed up at the class, surprising me! She and I attended calligraphy retreats in the 1980s together. How great to hear all that she has accomplished: you should check out the organization she created: Paperworks

Peter taught the scroll book making and Catherine and I worked on a collaborative piece to add to our broadside collection. Oh, I haven't really described that yet, right? Where we are able, we are printing a broadside or paper work that will all be gathered into a collection or book when our trip is through. What we printed in Phoenix (poem by Alberto Rios) and in Los Angeles (International Printing Museum) started the project. Catherine and I made a piece titled, "Sky Prevailing",  which is done in an encaustic (beeswax and resin) monoprint process.

So, Tucson has been full of magic, creativity and good friends. Oh, and warm weather, in the high 80s. Tomorrow we head out to the desert again, to visit some places of natural beauty. I plan on spending my time painting, so blog posts will be less frequent. And we will be open to more magic and wonder and connections.


Unknown said...

yes paint paint paint!

Polly said...

You guys look like you're having so much fun, and bringing fun, creativity, and happiness to each place you stop. What a great trip!