A81. Climb the Mountains

A81. Climb the Mountains

A81. John Muir. Climb the Mountains. Santa Cruz, California: Peter & Donna Thomas, 1995.

66.5 x 51 mm (2 5/8” x 2”), 17-page accordion, 100 copies.

Binding: Case-bound fold out accordion; bound in handmade paper over boards. Wood panels on covers and spine. “John Muir” printed on label on spine. End of accordion slipped into a pocket on back inside cover of binding. Paper: Blue, handmade by Peter Thomas. Printing: Letterpress. Typography: All text linocut by Donna Thomas. Illustration: Sixteen linocuts by Donna Thomas.

“We began as crafts persons making blank books and handmade paper. We then became printers and learned to make fine press books. At that time the book was a simple and easily understood concept; the book was archetypal, a thing like the Gutenberg Bible, a monumental text in a beautiful and sturdy binding. This may explain why it was so long before we made our first accordion fold book. The format seemed too ephemeral, anathema to our current aesthetic. This may also explain why, when we did start to make accordion books, we tried to make them conform to our picture of a book and forced them into bindings. These attempts to contain the accordion were successful, and led to the creation of the case-bound fold-out accordion binding, which combines the formal structure of the case-bound book with the freedom of the accordion format. This was the first editioned book to explore the structural ideas that finally resulted in the much simpler ‘case-bound fold-out accordion’ binding described in More Making Books by Hand [F1].  

This was also our first ‘block book.’ Donna cut the linoleum blocks with both text and illustration for each page. A proof of the printed pages was made. Then the paper was made with colored pulp applied through stencils onto the wet sheet of paper, located so the colors would align with the open spaces in the illustrations, coloring the illustrations with pulp rather than ink or later application of paint.”

Peter and Donna Thomas