A78. A Story of Life
A77. John Muir. A Thousand Mile a Walk to the Gulf. Santa Cruz, California: Peter Thomas, 1994.
70 x 51 mm (2 ¾” x 2”), 1 scroll, 37 copies.
Binding: Scroll; case-bound in tan cloth over boards. Title printed in gold on parchment label on cover. Scroll wound onto wood dowels at both ends. Dowels pass through holes in two oblong pine wood blocks attached vertically to the back inside cover. Bone knobs cover dowels on right side to assist in turning scroll. Inside cover paper off-white. Paper: Speckled white, handmade by Peter Thomas. Printing: Letterpress. Typography: Hand set Paramount. Illustration: Four linocuts by Donna Thomas. Notes: Made for the occasion of Donna’s 37th birthday.
“The text is an excerpt from Muir’s A Thousand Mile a Walk to the Gulf that asks parents to let children walk in nature to understand life and death. This theme is echoed by the materials: the movement of the scroll representing life, the parchment and bone knobs representing death. This was our first scrolling book. The idea to make a case-bound book with a scrolling page came in 1993 when I was sitting in a history of the book class at the University of Alabama. I had been invited to give a talk to the graduate book arts students and was sampling one of their other classes. In passing, the teacher mentioned that there are certain times in history when things can only be defined by what they are not. In the early twentieth century a car was called a horseless buggy, a radio was a wireless, and today we call a computer screen a page. This set me thinking that the scroll was the first book format and the computer the latest, and perhaps there would be some way to connect or combine the oldest and newest to create something defined by what it was not. This led me to decide to make a book that scrolled like a computer.”
A78. Peter and Donna Thomas. A Story of Life. Santa Cruz, California: Peter & Donna Thomas, 1994.
52.5 x 35 mm (2 1/16” x 1 3/8”), 17 pages, 200 copies.
Binding: Copies 1-10 are full-bound in blue leather. Flower onlay on cover in colored leather. Title in gold on spine. End sheets blue. Copies 11-200 are quarter-bound in blue leather and blue paper over boards. Title in gold on spine. End sheets blue. Paper: Copies 1-10 vellum. Copies 11-200 white, handmade by Peter Thomas. Printing: Letterpress. Typography: Hand set Bernhard Modern Roman. Illustration: Six linocuts by Donna Thomas; printed in blue. Illustrations in copies 1-10 are hand-colored by Donna Thomas. Notes: Miniature Book Society Distinguished Book of the Year, 1994.
“We wanted to reprint the text of our earlier book A Tale of Life [A11]. To make the new text different we substituted the word ‘woman’ for ‘man’ throughout the text. The miniature linocuts were printed from the original blocks. They are not photo-mechanical reductions. At the time we were deeply influenced by the work of the English Arts and Crafts printers, and as they often made vellum copies, we did the same.”