Peter and Donna Thomas
Santa Cruz, California


Peter and Donna Thomas of Santa Cruz, California are self-employed book artists, papermakers, and letterpress printers who write, illustrate, and bind their own books. They trained as bookbinders, making blank books at the California Renaissance Faires, and as apprentices to William Everson at the Lime Kiln Press at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Since 1977 they have produced more than 125 limited edition books and over 200 one-of-a-kind artists' books. They are founding members of the Miniature Book Society and are active in the leadership of both national and international book arts and papermaking organizations.

Proposal

The pages of the book will be folded to form a cross and the volume will be bound in plain sackcloth. The binders will harvest fiber from plants growing around the monument to Thomas à Kempis at Mount Saint Agnes in the Netherlands and then use these fibers to make the endpapers for the bound volume. The book will be placed in a hinged wooden chemise made of Lebanese olive and cedar, woods said to have been used to construct the cross of Jesus. The chemise will be studded with gold and jewels, similar to select bindings on early manuscript volumes. The book is to be rebound as if it were a holy relic, while the unornamented sackcloth reflects the poverty, chastity, and obedience of the Brethren of the Common Life.

Example

Thomas à Kempis. The Imitation of Christ. Translated by Rev. William Benham. Stilwell, Kansas: Digireads.com Publishing, 2005.

The cover and all of the pages of the book have been cut and folded in the shape of a cross, and this altered book has been placed in a hinged wooden chemise. Wooden crosses are affixed to the front and back covers and a jeweled clasp acts as a closure.