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....

Follow the Wandering Book Artists on Facebook and Instagram!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Wandering Near A Hurricane

Back in May we left the truck and caravan in Murphy, NC, parked under tarp shelters in a friend’s backyard, and flew home. We spent the summer in California making books, as well as enjoying some time surfing and hiking in the Sierra Nevada. On September 25, 2018 we flew back to NC to start what will be the final leg of our Wandering Book Artist “Work of 40 Years” tour. 

Natural disasters seem the new norm, and we flew into the storm so to say when we flew into Atlanta. We are unfamiliar with hurricanes and you from the west may be too, so here is a handy guide:

How to survive a hurricane in a caravan on the East Coast:
1) Plan to go to where they have hurricanes in a non-hurricane season. Oh well, did that wrong.
2) Stay far from the coast, where the rain may be relentless drizzle, not a torrential flood. We got that right!
3) Don’t park off the pavement. Oops, got stuck bad.
4) Bribe the AAA guy. He stayed overtime to pull us out.

Are you starting to wonder if we had a little personal tragedy? When we got back to North Carolina we found our truck and trailer were saturated with Smokey Mountain mold. It took washing everything with vinegar to get rid of the musty smell.

Then as we tried to pull out of the yard it started raining cats and dogs and the truck got stuck in mud. We had to call AAA to get us unstuck, and then because we couldn’t go forward, we had to back truck and trailer down a long steep driveway to get to the street. I really hope to never do that again.

But besides our news of natural disaster we have good news to report from this side of the country too: The people we have met have all been great! Folks in Knoxville, Nashville and Louisville have fed us, let us park in their driveways, and assured us that right livelihood and the arts are thriving in their communities! Then too, we may be biased: Libraries in Tennessee bought nice selections of our books!

This is the library at UT Knoxville

Nashville used to have a Printers Alley, with iconic businesses like Hatch Show Print, but as is happening around the country, Nashville’s small and older buildings are regularly being torn down and replaced by larger ones. Now its just a street with beautifully restored historic hotels alongside big anonymous business buildings.

In the Noelle Hotel on Printers Alley we found that besides being the capital of Country Music, there is lots of interest in the other arts. In the lobby there was a crazy kaleidoscope invention being made:

And on the 8th floor we enjoyed art work by Lesley Patterson-Marx (who is a superb book artist!). I love that song "Sunny", by Bobby Hebb.

And we even had the chance to give a few talks to high school students at the Nashville School of the Arts High School.

And one at LetterSong Gallery in Louisville.

Which is the home of Jug Band Music.

No comments: