Peter and Donna Thomas lecture at UVM Special Collections


Peter Thomas lecture at UVM Special CollectionsI first met Peter Thomas in June 2009 at the Focus on Book Arts conference where I attended his workshop The Doweled Flap Book & the Dowel Spine Non-Adhesive Portfolio.

There’s really nothing quite like making books while listening to live ukulele music.

Peter and his wife Donna have been making books together since 1976. Their miniature books are just jaw-droppingly fabulous.

Seriously. When I saw them for the first time, I just wanted to hug them.

When I read about Peter and Donna’s cross-country, book arts pilgrimage in a Gypsy Wagon, I contacted them about teaching a workshop for the Book Arts Guild of Vermont.

As part of their visit to Vermont in late August, Peter and Donna came to UVM Special Collections to present their lecture The Literary Book as a Work of Art.

Peter said a few things that stuck with me (a.k.a. The Gospel According to Peter):

Book arts is the most complex art form that is.

We need a larger vocabulary for artist books.

The book is four-dimensional art.

Peter said that in general, the public doesn’t understand the value of artist books. As a result, now is a great time to invest in artist books – they’re a bargain compared to other art forms.

Miniature books by Peter and Donna Thomas

Peter & Donna's amazing miniature books

Once the book arts reach the status of painting or sculpture, prices will increase. He added that when a famous book artist dies, it will be a great day for the book arts.

Note: He included a specific book artist’s name in the previous statement, but I prefer not to mention it here because it’s kinda morbid.

I totally get it and it bums me out. It should not take the loss of an artist to legitimize an art form.

I think that’s why I feel so strongly that teaching classes is my responsibility as an artist – educate the public about the value of the book arts, one person at a time.

Maybe I should get a gypsy wagon…

4 Responses to “Peter and Donna Thomas lecture at UVM Special Collections”

By velma - 28 September 2010 Reply

i had a marvelous time with peter and donna at st lawrence u visiting mark mcmurray’s history of book arts class. it was fun to see the students look amazed at the gypsy wagon.

By Elissa - 28 September 2010 Reply

Velma –

That’s great that you got to see them – their work is really inspiring.

The carving on the gypsy wagon blew my mind – I can’t believe they built that! It’s so beautiful.


By marcia - 25 October 2010 Reply

Elissa, here’s your chance to build your very own gypsy wagon.

By Elissa - 27 October 2010 Reply

Marcia –

Oohhhh…so very cool! You’re going to help me build it, right? 😉


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