Wandering Book Artists in Arcata

Our picnic with the gypsy wagon in the background.

Peter and Donna Thomas came wandering through Humboldt County in their gypsy wagon yesterday. It was a bit last minute and most of the local book arts folks were away at Focus on Book Arts north of the California border, but a small group of us met at the scenic Arcata Marsh for a little picnic. The weather had been pleasant and sunny for days. That ended just before the picnic.

Peter performing a song for us.
A window in the roof of the wagon. We made it inside just before the rain.

But heck, who needs coffee when there’s such a nice bracing wind off the bay. The conversation and food were so enjoyable it hardly made a difference, and the downpour, fortunately, held off until after we’d finished eating.

Afterward we took shelter in the wagon, which was especially atmospheric with the rain pattering on the roof. Peter sang us a book arts song with his ukelele and we perused a display of their and their daughter Suzanne’s wonderful books. It was a delightful afternoon.



Donna and Peter.


The view from our picnic.

8 thoughts on “Wandering Book Artists in Arcata”

  1. I love, love, love the gypsy wagon. The romantic in me perhaps because if truth be told I don’t like travelling nearly as much as I like the thought of it. If that makes sense. And truly fortunate that the weather was kind(ish) to you. It looks like a wonderful picnic spot. Thank you.

    • The design of it was based on a real English gypsy wagon. They even ate their dinner off of tin painted plates. These days I much prefer vicarious travel to the real thing myself.

      The Marsh is beautiful. I keep thinking I need to go down there to just take pictures. It’s actually the sewage treatment plant for the city of Arcata. They wanted to build upon their progressive reputation, and built this amazing wildlife refuge that also happens to treat the wastewater. It’s a big stopping off point for migrating water fowl and other birds, from what I’ve heard. Incongruously, large electrical pylons also run through it.

    • That’s so funny—I thought of you during the afternoon! I can’t remember the specifics, but I believe the wagon was built by someone who also builds boats (or there was some boat building connection?). At any rate, the conversation turned to boat building for a while. I wish all of you could’ve come to hang out too!

  2. Well, I am one of the subscribers that for some reason… I did not receive any feed back about new postings; I had assumed you were taking a break, so now I am thrilled I checked and found out that I had to re-subscribe. So here I am, officially double-triple subscriber/follower of your lovely blog!
    I LOVE the wagon and it looks like you have great friends! What a lovely picnic must have been in the company of arty friends and the shelter of this super atmospheric wagon!

    • Thanks Anna! I’m so glad you checked in on me and deeply appreciate your double/triple subscription. I honestly don’t know what happened with that. I’d checked that the feed was working before it went live, and it was updating fine in Google Reader for me. I’m grateful to have discovered there was anything wrong. Alas. I’m glad to have you back!

      I am lucky to have some amazing book friends locally. There’s a book arts guild (NORBAG) that’s been going here since the 90s. They still hold monthly workshops. This place is so isolated and rural (six hours north of San Francisco by car)–it’s truly amazing to have a group like that here. It was great that the Thomases decided to visit.


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