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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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The New York by the Great Lakes

We've had a couple of days in the New York of Great Lakes, dairy farms, lazy swimming rivers, and more book arts! This is what it looks like when we pull up next to the OTHER diesels in the rest stops on the interstate:

We taught a class and opened the caravan in Canton, New York, where St. Lawrence University is located. 

The Special Collections Librarian, Mark McMurray, is also a printer and book artist of "Caliban Press

and his semester class "The History of Artists' Books" began this week. Mark's reader for the class could be published for other book arts educators to use! There is an ongoing need for updating this subject as the book as art is quickly evolving and his research is comprehensive. What lucky students to have for a teacher one who makes books AND knows books as a librarian as well. 

We had a great visit to his home, parked next to the garden (tomatoes and the most beautiful eggplant I have ever seen!), 
Peter got a massage for his sore driving muscles by Patty (Mark's wife) and we are on the road again!

This is us camping on Lake Ontario last night, at sunset. In the morning walking on the beach I saw a baby turtle crawling to the dunes. Oh, also we swam in the lake before the sun went down.

The Visual Studies Workshop visit at noon in the 90-degree weather was reminiscent of Cleveland last month...but great to see the place where artists' books evolved in a different direction: They make mostly books printed offset, in larger numbers than our editions. They teach graduate and undergraduate students the finer nuances of creating books as art and work a lot with individuals on concepts for artists' books. The building is covered with an installation art piece having to do with architecture/time. Someone stopped behind me right after this photo was taken and said, "What is it?" 
Peter said,"a gypsy wagon!" and she said, "No, the building, what is it?" It was fun that the art got more attention than the caravan!
At 6 pm we then started another lecture and class, this time in Buffalo at the Western New York Book Arts Center. 16 students made scrolling books at this downtown center that has only been open a year and is full of great energy and good classes and cool letterpress stuff to buy!

The truck and caravan are parked on the street in front.

1 comment:

Velma Bolyard said...

glad you got a good spot on the lake. and really glad pat fixed sore muscles.