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Peter + Donna Thomas


B. 1954 & 1957

Peter and Donna Thomas (formerly The Good Book Press) are book artists from Santa Cruz, California. They work collaboratively, creating both edition and one-of-a-kind books. Together, they make the paper, print, illustrate, and bind their books, combining the precision of the fine press aesthetic with the structural creativity found in contemporary artists’ books.

Their piece in Cultural Currency, titled Rags Make Paper, is from a series they made while working at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in California between 1974 – 1989. The annual Faire (which still operates today) is a reenactment of an open-air English country market during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558 – 1603). Participants dress in attire inspired by the era. Peter and Donna played the roles of an Elizabethan papermaker and printer, creating “broadsides,” a single sheet of paper printed on one side with a song, an advertisement, or some popular commentary. Broadsides accurately represented craft from the Renaissance period, and Peter and Donna found them to be an inviting format with interesting typographic challenges as they combined type and image. It was also the perfect vehicle to create artworks inspired by William Caxton, who is thought to be the first person to introduce the printing press to England in 1476, and John Spilman, who founded the first commercially successful paper mill in England in 1588.

For Rags Make Paper, Donna made the woodcut illustration. The cut and text were letterpress printed on Peter’s handmade paper. The poem was drawn from Dard Hunter’s book “Papermaking: The History and Technique of an Ancient Craft,” however the author is unknown.

In recent years, Peter and Donna have made four cross-country road trips, traveling in their artistic tiny home on wheels as the “Wandering Book Artists,” teaching classes and giving talks about the book arts as they visited university and community-based book arts centers around the country. They are authors of More Making Books by Hand and editors of 1000 Artists’ Books. In 2021, The Legacy Press published a descriptive bibliography of their work: Peter and Donna Thomas: Bibliography, 1974–2020.


Myrtle Beach’s Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum strives to be one of the finest visual arts museums in the Carolinas. With 11 galleries that change throughout the year, Myrtle Beach’s only art museum offers exhibitions featuring paintings, textiles, sculpture, photography, video, ceramics, assemblage, collage and more. A visit to the Art Museum’s exhibitions can be enhanced by its lively programming, including artist receptions, tours, lectures, workshops and classes for both adults and children.