Peter and Donna Thomas are book artists from Northern California who have been spending the last year traveling around the U.S. in a handmade gypsy wagon. The wagon is their temporary home as well as a place for them to sell their books, teach book arts workshops and give talks and lectures. Wherever they’ve gone, their gypsy wagon has attracted attention for its whimsical color and design.
Peter and Donna fell in love with gypsy wagons when they were craftspeople at Renaissance fairs. Many of the fair vendors built the wagons to sleep in and sell their wares from. Peter and Donna built the wagon on a 16-foot Carson car hauler. The entire trailer weighs 3,800 pounds and it took them three years to build. The rafters were made with laminated pine boards and the floor with locally milled sugar pine. It is insulated, contains a small kitchen and electricity. They have a camping toilet in the closet and a solar shower that they keep in their tow vehicle, but the couple usually use campgrounds, friendly locals and universities for their bathing.
Since 1976 Peter and Donna Thomas have worked together making paper, letterpress printing and book binding, to create unique books. Their books have been shown in individual and group exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad, and have been purchased for collections around the world. They specialize in miniature books, one-of-a-kind designs, booked-shaped jewelry, papermaking, and books shaped like ukuleles and accordians. Their love of details made it into their gypsy wagon which they say is like a boat and a fairy tale all mixed up.
Photos courtesy of Wandering Book Artists