- Peter and Donna Thomas in collaboration with Anne Vilsbøll. Æg/Egg. Stryno, Denmark: Families of Peter & Donna Thomas and Anne Visbøll: 1990.
7.51 x 61 mm (3” x 2 ½”), 12 pages, 40 copies.
Binding: Full bound in tan speckled handmade Japanese paper over boards. Title on cover. Paper: White, with brown and yellow inserts; all handmade by the publishers. Printing: Relief. Typography: Linocut by Donna Thomas. Illustration: Two egg-shaped paper collages. Four linocuts by Donna Thomas based on drawings by Emilie Vilsbøll and Tanya and Suzanne Thomas. Notes: Text in English and Danish on facing pages. This book was made by Peter and Donna Thomas, with their children Tanya and Suzanne Thomas, in collaboration with Anne and her daughter, Emile Vilsbøll, in Stryno, Denmark.
“This book was made during our 1990 trip to Europe which we took to visit still existing commercial hand paper mills. We stayed with papermaker and artist Anne Vilsbøll on our way to see the Lessebo Mill in Sweden. She has a daughter just a bit older than Tanya and Suzanne, and all of us worked together to make this book. We made the text paper in Anne’s studio, and used her etching press to print Donna’s cuts.”
- Peter Thomas. Beer Will Help Your Shake: Recollections of a Ninety–Two Year Old Papermaker. Oxford: Alembic Press with Peter & Donna Thomas, 1990.
19.5 x 16 cm (7¾” x 6¼”), 18 pages, 114 copies.
Binding: Copies 1-100 have folded blue paper covers, handmade by Peter Thomas, over boards. Pages are sewn over parchment tapes with tapes made of manuscript indentures laced into covers. Title on label on cover. Bound by the printers. Special copies 1-14 are full-bound in old parchment manuscript indentures. Paper: 150 gsm Pott handmade at the Wookey Hole Mill. Printing: Letterpress; printed using Arab Follscap Folio, Albion Demy, and Adana presses. Typography: Monotype Caslon set by Solo–Type. Title hand set in wood type. Title, initial, and ornaments in blue. Illustration: Two linocuts by Donna Thomas. Special copies 1-14 include samples of paper made at the Wookey Hole Mill during Harry Glenville’s tenure.
“In 1988 I went to England to meet Cyril Finn, a retired hand papermaker who had worked at the vat his whole life, to learn the motions of the ‘papermaker’s shake.’ After the interview I asked if there were any other old papermakers around. He replied, ‘If you want to meet a really old papermaker you should go up to Wookey Hole and meet Harry Glanville, the man who trained me.’ I found Harry, who was then 92, in a rest home in Wells. Harry could not answer my questions, but he could tell a good story, which I tape-recorded and, on returning home, transcribed. I made plans to return to England in 1990 to have another interview with Cyril. When I told Claire Bolton of the Alembic Press about the plan she invited me to come visit, proposing we might do some sort of collaborative book project while I was there. After some discussion we decided to print Harry’s transcribed interview on Wookey Hole handmade paper. Claire hosted Donna and I, and our two daughters, for about a week, and in that time we got the pages printed. We had recently been introduced to the concept of making ‘non-adhesive bindings’ and decided that style of binding would be appropriate for this book. About this time English law had changed and lawyers no longer needed to retain century old parchment indenture documents, so there were lots of them on the market. Claire had just bought several dozen and, inspired by their raw beauty, we used them for the bindings of the special copies and also for the straps of the regular copy bindings. We split the edition with Claire, each taking 57 copies.”
- Beth Regardz and Warren Stringer. Patterns from Chaos. Santa Cruz: California. Peter & Donna Thomas, 1991.
75 x 75 mm (2 15/16”x 2 15/16”), 56 pages, 50 copies.
Binding: Non-adhesive Coptic binding. Covers are Rococo-patterned paper laminated to black cardboard. Housed in a clamshell box covered in metallic blue cloth. Paper: White, handmade Japanese Torinoko. Printing: Letterpress; printed from photo engravings. Typography: Digital Janson, set by Beth Regardz. Illustration: Ten samples of Rococo-patterned papers, laser printed on handmade colored Japanese Moriki paper using multiple layers of metallic foils. Notes: Made by Peter and Donna Thomas in collaboration with Beth Regardz and Warren Stringer in Santa Cruz, California.
“The concept of ‘chaos theory’ and cellular automata was developed in Santa Cruz at University of California Santa Cruz by Ralph Abraham and colleagues. Warren Stringer wrote original code in Santa Cruz based on these concepts, using a PC that was connected to a laser printer. To create the images each sheet of Moriki paper was passed through the printer two times for each color (once to apply the toner and once to fuse the metallic foil to the paper). Thus an image with three colors passed thru the printer six times. Beth Regardz taught Illustrator and PageMaker at University of California Santa Cruz Extension in the late '80s, then in 1992 co-founded the Cabrillo College Digital Media program where Peter took his first computer classes from her. Peter and Donna collaborated with Regardz and Stringer on the concept and design for this book and they both printed and bound it. The text pages were designed by Regardz on a Mac computer and then printed from polymer plates. This was one of the first, if not the first, miniature books printed using polymer plates.
- Fred Moramarco. Novel: A Poem. Santa Cruz, California: Greenhouse Review Press and The Good Book Press, 1993.
70 x 51 mm (2 ¾” x 2”), 150 copies.
Binding: Full-bound in black cloth over boards. Paper dust jacket digitally printed with a marbled design. Title on front. Photo of the author on back. Paper: White, commercial. Printing: Letterpress; printed from polymer plates by Gary Young. Typography: Digital. Notes: Made by Peter and Donna Thomas in collaboration with Gary Young of Greenhouse Review Press in Santa Cruz, California.
“Gary’s friend Fred Moramarco had written this poem, which tells a story that could be the outline for a novel. Gary wanted to see it printed like a miniature novel, so asked us to help. As I remember things, Gary printed the text and we bound the book. It is definitely not printed on my handmade paper. The binding was designed to mimic the hard cover copies of a novel, and the dust jacket made by what was then the newly available color photocopy machine. We initially priced the book at a remaindered price, a statement about the relative commercial success of poetry compared to novels.”
- Peter Thomas. [No title]. San Antonio, Texas: Peter & Donna Thomas. 1995.
21x 21.5 cm (8 1/4” x 8 ½”), 20 pages, 14 copies.
Binding: Coptic binding. Covers are brown handmade paper over boards. Back cover is thicker than front, with a small storage space cut in and covered by a flap. Paper: Various colors, handmade by the collaborators. Printing: Hidden text letterpress; printed from polymer plates. Illustrations printed using various methods. Typography: Digital; printed in brown. Illustration: Ten illustrations; made by collaborators using several techniques including linocut, photo transfer, paper pulp painting, and mixed media collage. Notes: There is a hidden text on handmade paper folded into sixteen squares and tied with a string inside the storage space in the back cover. Made by Peter Thomas in collaboration with other papermakers at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Texas.
“This was made during a collaborative book making event at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Texas which I organized with Beck Whitehead who taught papermaking at the school. The participants were papermakers who had just attended the Friends of Dard Hunter Meeting in Austin, Texas, and some of Beck’s students from San Antonio. I am not sure I recall all the participants, but those I remember were: Dorothy Field, Mary Locke Crofts, Mary Ellen Mathews, Margaret Prentice, Robbin Silverberg, Peggy Skycraft, Erin Storey, myself, and Beck Whitehead. I brought a quote by Marcel Proust as a starting point for the collaboration. The quote basically said, ‘We all know that we will die, but we don’t think it will happen today, because today we already have things planned…an appointment in the early morning with...etc.’ Opinion was strongly divided as to whether we should use that quote or not. We ended up using a story Dorothy Field told about the death of Avshalom Feinberg, a Jewish spy working against the Ottomans during WWI. To make the book, participants paired up and worked on creating the different pages. Participants made all the illustrations, and some of the paper, during the event. I developed the concept for the binding during the collaboration: an unsupported sewing structure attached to rigid board covers. The back cover is much thicker than the front to accommodate a small storage space hidden behind a paper flap.
The book was not given a title at the time of creation. I gave it the provisional title ‘Remembrance of Things Past,’ referring to the initial Proust quote, but others remember the title as ‘The Date Nut Tree.’ In any case, the Proust quote was not totally abandoned. After being converted by computer into Arabic letterforms, so becoming only a code, it was made into a polymer plate and printed on a piece of my handmade paper, which was subsequently folded into sixteen squares, tied with a string, and placed inside the hidden compartment in the binding, referencing both the story of Feinberg’s death and the Proust quote.”
Peter and Donna Thomas. Mirage. Santa Cruz, California: Peter & Donna Thomas, 1997. Overall measurements: 43.5 x 31.5 x 13 cm (17” x 12.5” x 5”). Base: 4 x 30 x 14 cm (1 ¾” x 12” x 5 ½”). Support post for boat: 43.5 x 5 x 2 cm (18” x 2” x 3/4”). Boat: 24 x 9.51 x 70 mm (9 ½” x 3 ½” x 3”). 2 scrolls, each 57.5 x 10.5 cm (22 ½” x 4”). 10 copies.
Notes: Made by Peter and Donna Thomas in collaboration with other papermakers at their home and studio in Santa Cruz, CA.
“This book object was made in our shop in Santa Cruz during a collaborative book making session I planned after the Friends of Dard Hunter meeting in San Francisco. The participants were John Babcock, Inger Brauteset, Dorothy Field, Anne Komissar, Catherine Nash, Peggy Skycraft, Donna Thomas, and myself. Staring at the ocean on the first evening we all saw a mirage of land on the horizon. That vision inspired and gave direction to the creation of this work. All participants worked on all aspects of the collaboration: making the boats and pedestal, making paper, writing, setting the type and printing the text.
A boat (coracle) made of wood and handmade paper is suspended above a wooden pedestal. The base of the pedestal is covered in blue paper that was handmade by the collaborators in John Babcock’s studio. That sheet of paper was created to reference the colors of water and sky. The boat hangs from a string tied to a vertical wooden post attached to a horizontal wooden base. This post has a piece of handmade paper attached loosely, blind printed (relief only) with different words for ‘mirage.’ A hole drilled in the base houses a rolled up scroll, letterpress printed with text about mirage composed by the collaborators and documentation of collaboration.”
- Peter Thomas. Rising to Freedom/Rising to Love. Chicago, Illinois: Peter & Donna Thomas, 1999. Circular book object: 26.5 cm diameter x .3 cm height (10 ½” x 1/8”). Clamshell box: 29 x 29 cm (11 ½” x 11 ½”) Text: 21 cm diameter (8 ¼”) Spiraling circular book object, 3 circular text pages, 8 copies.
Binding: Circular binder’s board base, colored with ink and pigment. Two circular pages are cut in spirals and laid one over the other and attached to the base. A string with a small paper bead at one end is attached to the center of the spiral pages. Two additional circular text sheets and title page accompany the book object. Housed in a clamshell box covered in blue and brown book cloth. Paper: Spiral pages handmade by the collaborators. Text sheets handmade by Peter Thomas. Title sheet handmade by Kitz Rickert and Marilyn Sward. Printing: Spiral pages and title page letterpress. Text pages digital. Typography: Spiral pages hand set wood type. Title page hand set. Spiral pages digital. Illustrations: Spiral pages are decorated with pigment and ink. Title page decorated with a wash of color. Notes: This book object was made at The Columbia College Center for Book and Paper Arts in Chicago, Illinois, as a collaboration by Peter Thomas with Dorothy Field, Amanda Love, Kitz Rickert, Marilyn Sward, and Jamie Thome, who had all just attended the Friends of Dard Hunter meeting in Chicago.
“As a starting point, I brought an 1873 essay by Victoria Woodhull titled ‘Virtue: What It Is and What It Is Not.’ The book object was made in response to Woodhull’s ideas on free love. One of the text pages explains our contemplation of her essay, the other has our literary response. The book object itself was made using two pieces of handmade paper that were letterpress printed with the words ‘rising to freedom,’ cut into circles, cut into spirals, and then attached to a decorated circular board that was printed with the words ‘rising to love.’ When the spiral page is lifted the words printed on the board are revealed. We had first titled the work, ‘Rising to Love,’ but when paired with the structure we had developed we had concerns that title might be inferred to have sexual references we did not want it to allude to. In the documentation we called it a ‘book object’ as at the time the word ‘artists’ book’ was not yet used universally, as it is now, to refer to any and all book arts structures.”
- Georgia O’ Keefe. Cruces. Santa Cruz, California: Peter & Donna Thomas, 2013.
76 x 57 mm (3” x 2 ¼”), 1 page, 20 copies.
Binding: Matchbook-like binding; Cover is printed flax paper handmade by Katya Reka and has a center panel and two flaps that open vertically. A tab in the upper flap slips through a slot in the lower flap to hold it closed. Title on cover. A printed sheet of cream paper cut to the shape of a Greek cross is folded and sewn to the center panel of the cover. A single text sheet is stitched to the center of the cross-shaped sheet with red thread. Paper: Text paper brown, handmade by the collaborators from century plant fiber. Cross-shaped sheet cream, handmade by the collaborators. Typography: Handwritten by Donna Thomas in red and brown. Illustration: Three color-reduction print linoleum cuts by Donna Thomas and Gatis Cirulis. Notes: Made by Peter and Donna Thomas in collaboration with Gatis Cirulis and Katya Reka in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Interior of cover is printed with a linoleum cut by Katya Reka. Exterior of cover is offset printed from random text pages.
“We arrived in Las Cruces about 7 pm on April 2, 2013, and by 8 pm were already pulling out the miniature Hollander beater and new iPhone-sized paper mould to make paper from century plant leaves that Katya had been retting for the past 6 months. As the paper dried, the brainstorming began. Many ideas surfaced relating to the theme of ‘crosses.’ Our earlier collaboration in Indiana was about crosses and crossroads—Las Cruces was first founded as a crossroad town, early town logos had three crosses, our home city is ‘Santa Cruz,’ or ‘Holy Cross’ and it is also a cross city. We settled on the idea of making a small book in the shape of a cross. Peter found a quote by New Mexico’s revered artist, Georgia O’Keeffe, from My Faraway One: Selected Letters…: ‘Anyone who doesn’t feel the crosses simply doesn’t get the country.’ It refers to all the crosses she saw around the countryside in New Mexico. Peter wanted to change the spelling of ‘the crosses’ to the Spanish ‘Las Cruces’ to make it seem like O’Keeffe was writing about the city, but that never happened.
In the morning we finished up the papermaking, then started playing with a cross-shaped piece of paper, folding the flaps to make a little container, or perhaps a shrine, for the little 3 by 2 inch pieces of paper we had just made. Then Donna and Gatis began cutting linoleum blocks for the cross-shaped paper. Katya was teaching printmaking at New Mexico State University (NMSU), and in the early afternoon we went down to the NMSU art department to print the cuts. NMSU has a Vandercook press, but we did not find wood to mount the linoleum on, so crossed the hallway to the printmaking studio and used their etching press instead.
We limited the edition to 20 copies, a manageable number to finish in a short time, and printed the cuts on paper Peter had previously made and had brought on the trip for just this sort of occasion. Donna and Gatis placed the two linoleum blocks side by side on the bed of the press. They hand inked both blocks at the same time using a yellow ink they had mixed, placed the paper on the lino-blocks, covered it with a newsprint slipsheet, then pulled the print. After that they re-inked the blocks, flipped the handmade paper over and pulled a print on the reverse side of the paper. This way the two lino-blocks ended up being printed back to back. Donna and Gatis then swapped blocks and cut away more for the second run. Gatis called it making a ‘suicide print.’ At the same time, Katya cut linoleum for the cover to be printed on a very strong flax paper she had made when she worked at Cave Paper in Minnesota.
After printing the second run in rust-colored ink, with a swash of deep red applied with a second roller, the blocks were again swapped and cut away for the final olive-green run. After the third cutting there was very little linoleum left on the block. This type of print is often called a ‘suicide print’ because there is no going back. It almost became a real suicide for Gatis when he stabbed his hand while cutting away at the block. He worked the rest of the night with that hand wrapped in gauze held over his head. After finishing the third run it was almost midnight, but we still needed to print the cover. We inked the cover’s lino-block with the olive green already on the slab, placed the paper on top of the block, then took a slip sheet covered with the offset ink from the previous run and placed it face down on the paper, then we pulled the print. The result was the green linocut on one side and a three color ‘ghost print’ from the offset ink on the back. We were excited with the results and pleased that the ghost print could conceptually tie the printmaking to the text, as O’Keeffe had lived at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico.
The next morning we got ready to cut up the prints into the cross shape, but found the ink was not dry. In a stroke of genius, Donna took dirt from the yard, sifted it through a tea strainer and sprinkled it over the prints. When that dirt was brushed away the prints were dry and had a nice earthy patina. Donna wrote out the quote by hand on 20 little pieces of the century plant paper, while Katya sewed them in place on the print using three cross-stitched crosses to reference the town’s early logos. Peter designed the binding. The covers were hand cut and punched using shapes that referenced Southwest architecture. A square window on the inside cover flap reveals the interior print. We titled the book ‘Cruces’ and Donna cut a lino-block for title. Peter and Gatis printed it on the cover like it was a rubber stamp, using green ink saved from the previous night’s final press run. The final step was to sew the folded cross page into the covers. The project was complete…in less than two days. We split the edition in half, Gatis and Katya getting the even numbers while Peter and Donna got the odd numbers.”