IN THEIR GYPSY WAGON BOOKMOBILE

We have been making artist's books for over 30 years together. Long ago as craftspeople at Renaissance faires we fell in love with the "gypsy wagons" that vendors built to sleep in and sell their wares from. This wagon is taking us around the country to sell our books, teach book arts workshops, talk about books and see the beauty in the USA.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?

This is the title of a song by Blind Alfred Reed, written in the 1920s. I made an artist book using his song as part of the text. 





The photographs came from Peter's Grandma Mary, who was born in "Indian Territory." My family tree is the other part of the text. I found my family, like Blind Alfred, faced hard times in the depression, traveling state to state to find work. My Grandma Mary Caroline was born in 1915, in Blue Springs, Nebraska. Her family lived on 5 different farms in Nebraska and Kansas. We drove through Blue Springs, NE on our way from Lincoln, NE to Lawrence, KS.


 A local woman described the place to us, "...Just a jerkwater town now."



I thought it was beautiful country. Nebraska sky. Montana is not the only state that can call themselves, "big sky country." 


We camped beside a reservoir near Lincoln, Nebraska. All the sites are mowed grass, which may be pretty for city parks, but a little odd for State Parks, don't you think? In Pawnee Lake State Park we camped in a "primitive" site right on the water, and we were all by ourselves because we have solar power, so didn't need electricity, water and sewer. The blue glow at night shows that most RVs are plugged to watch TV. One student, awhile back, asked "What do you do for entertainment? I answered, "Read, play music, and talk." Those were all foreign pastimes to him. His incredulous reply was, "You don't have a TV?!!" 




We have both finished reading "My Antonia" by Willa Cather. I made a book using a quote I found in it. I drew the pictures from Grandma Mary's photos, the same ones that I reprinted for the "...Hard Times and Live" book.



"My Antonia" is set in the red grass prairie land of Nebraska where we are right now. At the campground we got to walk through the red grass.



Then we entered Kansas on the "road to OZ."




We were busy, giving talks to classes at KU and Kansas City Institute of Art and want to show you a few more of those "Gyspy Wagon on Campus" and "Peter sings book arts folk songs to students" photos.

1 comment:

Tanya Cothran said...

I love the beautiful photos of the prairie! I'm also reading a Willa Cather book now, "Song of the Lark" set in Colorado. She has such a way with words! Enjoy the open road.