E11. In the Middle

A122. No Form of Love

E11. Peter and Donna Thomas comp. In the Middle. [Murfreesboro, Tennessee]: n.p., 2004.

29 x 22 cm (11¼” x 8½”), 13 pages and 12 scrolls, 24 copies.

Binding: Bound in painted paper over boards. Title page and twelve one-page essays are stab bound through a flap at the top of the end sheet on the front inside cover. Twelve scrolls are wound around wood dowels and inserted into holes drilled in a two-inch thick aromatic cedar block attached to back inside cover. Paper: Essays printed on recycled paper. Scrolls printed on commercial art paper. Printing: Digital and letterpress. Typography: Essays digital, typeface unknown. Scrolls and title page hand set wood type; printed in various colors. Notes: Made by Peter and Donna Thomas in collaboration with students at Middle Tennessee State University. Signed by the seminar participants. 

“We developed the concept and the structure for this book at Middle Tennessee State University's Tulip Poplar Press during the Visiting Artist Seminar, March 1-5, 2004. Twelve students worked under their direction. Each student was required to write a one-page essay that discussed their relationship to their geographic or cultural regional environment, to choose a literary quote that related to what they had written, and, finally, to choose one or two words that reflected the essence of what they had written. The essay and quote were then laser printed on recycled paper, stab sewn together and attached to the inside of the front cover of the book. To enhance the project’s theme regarding MTSU’s geographic location, large slabs of freshly milled aromatic Tennessee Cedar were acquired from a nearby sawmill.  It was cut to size, sanded, and twelve 1" holes were drilled into it. The blocks were then glued to the back cover of the book. The students each letterpress printed their one or two words on 12" x 2" strips of art paper, using various sizes and fonts of wood type printed in various colors of ink. These strips were then rolled up and placed in the holes in the slab of cedar. The covers were made using paper decorated with acrylic paints over cardboard. MTSU is in the geographic center of the state. The students worked diligently to make sure that all elements of the book work together to express the physical and cultural aspects of the regional geography of middle Tennessee. Each student received a copy and several went to the University. The cedar was freshly milled and therefore quite oily. The oil leached out of the wood and into both the scrolls and the text paper. Because of this failure, although we had made 10 copies to sell, we never sold any of those copies, but they have been given several to library collections as examples of that failure.”

A122. Eleanor Roosevelt. No Form of Love. Santa Cruz, California: Peter & Donna Thomas, 2004.

54 x 41 mm (2 1/8” x 1 5/8”), scroll 80 cm (31 5/8”), 47 copies.

Binding: Scroll; case-bound in pink printed paper over boards. Label with linocut of violets and the initials "E.R." on label on cover. Inside cover paper white printed with hearts. Scroll wound onto a brass rod that slides into a hole drilled in a padauk wood block attached to back inside cover. Brass cap on scroll aids in removing scroll from wood block. Scroll is printed on both sides. Paper: Handmade by Peter Thomas. Printing: Letterpress. Typography: Various metal and wood type faces. Illustration: Linocut by Donna Thomas. Notes: Made for the occasion of Donna Thomas’s 47th birthday.

“The book was made as an expression of love: love of books, their materials and structures, love of complex ideas, words of wisdom, and freedom of choice. The text was taken from one of Eleanor Roosevelt's personal notebooks. Roosevelt wrote it as a comment on a book she was reading at the time, as a statement that one should be free to choose whom one loves. The text was letterpressed on Peter's handmade paper, using old wood and various metal typefaces, with a rainbow roll of ink that goes from red to purple. No two copies are exactly the same colors. The back of the scroll was printed with hearts that were carved in a linoleum block by Donna for Peter on Valentine's Day and used without her knowledge for this surprise book. The scroll, wrapped around a brass shaft, is slipped inside a hole that was drilled into a small block of wood. The wood is padauk, chosen for its reddish color. The label on the cover depicts violets, chosen because in the diary Roosevelt also states that in her day it was the custom to give violets as a token of affection to ones' lovers.”

Peter and Donna Thomas