Hand written text and images reproduced on Peter’s handmade paper using color laser printing. 8.5 by 5.5 inches, number 14 from an edition of 30, Trifold quarter leather binding with letterpress printed end pages, vintage pencils in cedar pencil holder, cedar pencil box with vintage pencils attached. $545
Real thing: 55, 2012
Letterpress printed accordion, on pulp sprayed hand made paper, 2.5 by 1.5 inches, edition of 55. $55
Being a book artist is more than just making books; it’s living and breathing them. It’s about becoming so involved with the subject matter that the physical attributes of the book reveal themselves. It’s about listening to the materials invoke the proper text. It’s about loving those materials and knowing them so well that we feel their desire to be used in the book we are making. We didn’t begin our artistic careers planning to be artists of the book. It was more a case of being called, inspired with the desire to make a Good Book: one that, through the materials, in the text, and by the visual and tactile impact, will move the viewer from the everyday to a new place, a place that stirs the soul.
We live in exciting times. Since the invention of the printing press the book, as a medium for the artist, has been encumbered by function. Over the course of the last two decades the personal computer has released the book from servitude to information, and thus set it free to become an aesthetic object, a work of art. Now, free of function, the book is clearly the most complex and versatile of all the art mediums. As book artists we seek to exploit these potentials, creating works of art that are beautiful and exciting and yesterday unimaginable.
Peter and Donna Thomas are book artists. They work both collaboratively and individually: Peter makes the paper, Donna creates the art work, (line drawings and lino cuts for the fine Press books – calligraphy with watercolors for her one-of-a-kind books) and together they design, print and bind their book. From 1977-1987 they were known as the Good Book Press, and currently work under the imprint of Peter and Donna Thomas. Peter apprenticed with William Everson, and they are founding members of the Miniature Book Society. Their research into the history of papermaking and their exploration of alternative book structures are internationally recognized, the latter leading to the publication of their “More Making Books by Hand” by Quarry Books in 2004, the former to the creation of fine press books like their “The History of Papermaking in the Philippines”. Donna’s edition books often combine her watercolor paintings with words by the great naturalist John Muir, and her one of a kind books feature her paintings, calligraphy and leather onlay bindings. She is currently painting a flora with the native flowers of the Sierra Nevada. Peter has recently completed the “Ukulele Book Series”: 24 one-of-a-kind books, each with a real ukulele as a structural element of the binding.