E17. Peter and Donna Thomas, Letters. Santa Cruz, California: Peter & Donna Thomas, 2015.
141 x 61 mm (5 ½” x 2 ¼”), 52 pages, 46 copies.
Binding: Accordion; printed commercial paper covers. Individual pages are attached to both sides of an accordion-folded “spine.” Housed in a printed paper slipcase made to look like an envelope and held shut with a brass brad. Paper: White commercial. Printing: Letterpress; hand stamping; digital. Illustration: Digital and hand-stamped illustrations created by the collaborators and Donna Thomas. Notes: The binding is a unique variation of the “flag book” structure (see Ukulele Series Book #11: The Concertina Ukulele [C43]). Made in collaboration with students in Kathleen O’Connell’s book arts and letterpress classes at Middle Tennessee University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
“Professor Kathleen O’Connell from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN, invited us, as wandering book artists, to make a collaborative artists’ book while working with all three of her classes: Bookbinding 2, Letterpress 1, and Book Arts. Donna woke up the morning before the first class (inspired by an email we just received from a friend, Stephen Flanagan, that had real care given to the composition and a depth of content to match the quality found in old handwritten letters) with the idea to explore the interplay between letter as a shape and letter as a narrative.
The bookbinding class met first and determined the structure, conceiving a simple binding that would convey the idea of letters being sent, a pleated spine with postcard-like pages attached to both sides of the spine. We have since named this the double pleated spine binding. The letterpress class met next and they determined a direction for the content, printing the letters of the alphabet on the 26 postcard pages, to represent the letters, or to imagine the stories that might have been told by letters or to letters. Students from the other classes also created letter postcards, using ink jet printers and hand inked flexi-cut stamps. The book arts class met last and pulled the whole collaboration together by titling the book “Letters,” creating a postcard-like title page, and envelope-like slip case to hold the book.”