- Peter Thomas. The Just Because Trilogy. Santa Cruz, California: Peter Thomas, 1991. A. 91 x 76 cm (36” x 30”)
B. 76 x 63.5 mm (3” x 2 ½”)
C. 7.5 x 6.5 mm (3/10” x ¼”)
“We were well known for making miniature books and once, in jest, someone posed this question: If a regular person’s miniature book measures 3 by 2.5 inch, what size would it be if a giant made it, and what size would it be if a fairy made it? Then, just because, I made these three books, making giant sheets of paper for the largest books and binding the smallest using tweezers.”
- Henry David Thoreau. Enough of Nature. We Need the Tonic. Santa Cruz, California: Peter Thomas, 1995.
18 x 16 cm (7” by 5 ¾”).
“This book was made as a statement about the illusion of perpetuity the use of fine materials gave to fine press books. This book was made using only metal. A number 10 coffee tin was cut and flattened to make pages. The text, a quote by Thoreau, was punched through the tin, and copper wire was laced thru the holes. The pages were bound at the spine with copper wire. The book was placed in our garden and left there until it rusted away.”
- Peter and Donna Thomas. MAC’s ABCs. Santa Cruz, California: Peter & Donna Thomas, 1996.
18 x 141 x 32 mm (7 ¼” x 5 ½” x 1”), 1 copy; made by Peter and Donna Thomas in collaboration with Michael Beeson.
“MAC’s ABCs was created by Peter and Donna Thomas with technical assistance from Michael Beeson, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at San Jose State. Donna’s leather binding is made to resemble an Apple Mac SE computer, using leather onlays to create the disc drive, logo and black monitor rim. The monitor's screen is made from sheepskin parchment; the title was letterpress. The accordion pages fold out of the book like computer paper from a dot matrix printer. The paper was handmade by Peter, and perforated to resemble computer paper. The text was letterpress using hand set Weiss Titling Series II types. The illustrations accompanying the text were hand painted by Donna Thomas.
We believe a time will come when computers get so fast that they run out of things to do. We can imagine they will take up reading to fill their spare time. Young computers will need to have ‘children’s books.’ Anticipating this need, we have created a book for those little computers. It is a binary ABC: the As, Bs and Cs are all in 1s and 0s; 01000001 is A, 01000010 is B and so on. Each page is illustrated with a calligraphic rendering of the letter. We imagine young computers will scan these images to discover the visual representation of the binary digits. It is not much harder to imagine that MAC’s ABCs, along with other the books we might create (like Dos and Mac: ‘Look Mac. See Dos. Dos can run. Run windows run.’), will become classics of the genre, and that someday in the future these books will be found on every virtual book shelf in the world.”
- Peter and Donna Thomas. Sometimes It Happens that Love. 1997. Whereabouts and other details unknown.
- Peter Thomas. Pencil Book. Santa Cruz, California: Peter Thomas, 1998.
15 x 8 cm (5 ¾” x 3 ¼”), 2 copies.
“5 pencils mounted in wooden holder as a single page in a book. Full bound in paper letterpress with the word ‘pencil.’ (For more information about this book see commentary for Lead Pencil [A110]”
- Peter and Donna Thomas. Three Kinds of Magic. Santa Cruz, California: Peter & Donna Thomas, 2000.
15 x 10 x 6 cm (6” x 4” x 2 ½”).
“This book explores the interconnections of tools used in Three Kinds of Magic: prestidigitation, conjuring, and miracles. Each page presents objects and images to represent the objects used in performing each different kind of magic: instant worms and fake burning cigarettes used in the magic trick of prestidigitation... runic dice and a pentangle used as charms in the rituals of the conjurer or fortune teller... and a holy card and St. Christopher medal used as holy relics for religious miracles.
I invented the structure for this book. Undoubtedly someone had already had invented it before me, but I did not have the benefit of their expertise. The pages are made from overbeaten pulp, a sort of Magical substance, which when formed into paper becomes translucent. Each page is sewn over two wooden dowels. Those dowels are driven into holes previously drilled into long, narrow, wooden blocks. To create the flexible spine of the book, these narrow oblong blocks were covered in very strong handmade paper, placed side by side vertically, and then connected together with little paper hinges. The covers are painted wood, painted by Donna in the tradition of the religious icon, with representative objects from each kind of Magic attached to the surface. The text is more symbolic than informational; it has never been considered proper to disclose information about the magical arts to the uninitiated, and unlike Manly Palmer Hall, I do not wish to explain the secrets of all ages. I am just an artist making books.”
- Hugh Prather. No Title (Food Critics). Santa Cruz, California: Peter Thomas, 2000.
24 x 12 cm (9 ½” x 4 ¾”).
“This was a first attempt at making a larger flap book. The book does not have a title page, thus there is no title. The text is a quote by Hugh Prather which begins, ‘Food critics…’ Case-bound in brown pigskin over boards. Inside cover paper colorfully pulp painted paper. Pages are attached to (five) rotating wood dowels and set in a framework made of mahogany wood, and attached to the inside spine of the binding. The text is laser printed on Peter’s colorfully pulp painted handmade paper. It was made for Donna’s 43rd birthday.”
- Peter and Donna Thomas. California Dreaming. Santa Cruz, California: Peter & Donna Thomas, 2003.
8 x 15 x 8 cm (3” x 6” x 3”).
“This is a scroll book, bound in a plastic toy ‘Woodie’ car. The scrolling page is wound over a brass crank that is suspended through holes drilled in the back seat opening of the toy car. The text features the lyrics to Jan and Dean's “Surf City” (“I got a '34 wagon and we call it a woodie...”) printed over a hand painted photo collage of surf and woodie images. Peter laser printed text and image on his handmade paper. Donna hand colored the images.”
- Peter and Donna Thomas. The History and Dangers of Flight. Santa Cruz, California: Peter & Donna Thomas, 2003.
51 x 51 x 13 cm (20” x 20” x 5”).
“A 1960's gas powered U-control balsa wood and paper model airplane has been modified and rebuilt by Peter and Donna Thomas. Two scrolling texts, outlining the history and dangers of flight, were hand written and illustrated by Donna Thomas on Peter’s handmade paper. These texts, timelines in a presentation reminiscent of sky-borne advertisements, were wound as scrolls and attached to a brass shaft connected to the propeller and a brass shaft suspended through holes drilled through the tail of the plane. A scrolling colophon resides, as a prayer, inside the motor, in the bored out cylinder of the motor attached to the head which was made to be easily removable. ”
- Peter Thomas. Our Young Folks/Jeff Grell. Santa Cruz, California: Peter Thomas, 1883/2003.
20 x 14 cm (7 ¾” x 5 3/8”).
“Peter hollowed out a vintage copy of Our Young Folks’ Plutarch then mounted a scroll on a brass crank in the hole. The text was laser printed with a short biography of Jeff Grell, the first person to attach a high back binding to a snowboard. The interior of the book was painted using acrylics by Suzanne Thomas.”
- Peter Thomas. Salt is Good. Santa Cruz, California: Peter Thomas, 2004.
79 x 25 mm (3 1/8” x 1”).
“One scrolling page is wound around a metal rod that is attached to the lid and suspended inside a vintage salt shaker. The text is political commentary, hand lettered over an altered photocopy of a newspaper article. Disheartened by the current political situation, I went on a news boycott. Still I learned more than I want to know about the torture in Iraq. It was an embarrassment to me as an American... ‘Don't do what I do, do what I say...’ and, it was an insult to the rest of the world. The words, ‘The USA has lost much of its moral authority...’ stung my ears. The book was perhaps my only overt expression of political activism in an artists’ book, just the sort of activism printers and writers have done through the ages, and that at the time I needed to do to express my frustration.”
- Peter Thomas. [No Title]. Santa, Idaho: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2010. 8 x 6 x 4 cm. (3.2 x 2.4 x 1.6 in.)
- Peter and Donna Thomas. Old Money. Peter and Donna Thomas, 2011.
Book: 10 x 18 x 3 cm (4” x 7” x 1”).
Cigar Box: 15 x 20 x 5 cm (6” x 8” x 2”).
“Old Money explores the concepts of time and money. A friend showed me a little collection of old paper bills. I fell in love with them as both paper and printing: the patina of age and the skill of the engravers. Some of the bills were quite unique. I was told one bill was quite valuable, but no longer remember which one it was, and am not sure what ‘quite valuable’ means. $10? $100? $1000?
The bills are connected, flag style, to a long accordion-folded piece of paper I made from shredded US money. Bits of old bills are still evident as small flecks in the paper. The back of the accordion was printed using vintage wood type that I had just bought for what used to be an exorbitant price. Time and money. The book is housed in an old cigar box, resting on a bed of shredded money.”
- Peter and Donna Thomas. A Wandering Book Artist’s Travelogue. Santa Cruz, California: Peter & Donna Thomas, 2012.
Book: 13 x 176 x 63 mm (5” x 7” x 2 ½”).
Clamshell Box: 18 x 20 x 10 cm (7” x 8”).
“This is a simple accordion binding, with 7 scored and folded black mat board accordion pages. The accordion pages are written and illustrated on both sides of the mat board, and on the front and back inside covers. The text documents our 2012 trip across the USA as ‘Wandering Book Artists.’ The brief text and accompanying maps were written and drawn by Donna Thomas in white and yellow ink. Ten enameled copper assemblages made by Donna Thomas illustrate the work. The clamshell box was made by Peter from a tin lunch pail, modified with an additional hinge to allow for easy removal of the book. The box is embellished with bottle caps, pennies and other bits of tin. The title is written on a panel on the cover. Peter and Donna's Wandering Book Artists' business cards is attached to the spine.”