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A Yosemite Pilgrim's Circumambulation
One-of-a-kind book by Donna Thomas. 2022
Peter and Donna Thomas: Santa Cruz

A Yosemite Pilgrim's Circumambulation. (2020) Texts by Donna Thomas, Edward Abbey, Dorothea Lange, Ellen Meloy, Walt Whitman. 2 books in a clamshell box: Book 1: 12 pages. 11.25 x 8.75 inches. Book 2: 6 panel piano hinged accordion. 11.25 x 8.75 inches. $3,400.

Book 1:
Full bound brown aniline dyed skiver covers (vintage from Hewets, Scotland) and green goat spine, tooled multi-color leather onlays of trees wrap front and back covers.

Text and five illustrations painted on ochre handmade paper, additional text on blue handmade paper stitched to ochre pages. (Watercolors painted by Donna Thomas, plein air in the Sierra Nevada while backpacking.) Centerfold illustration is a map of Yosemite Valley.

Book 2:
6-panel piano hinged accordion, brown aniline dyed skiver leather over boards, green goat piano hinges laces, silver painted dowels, tooled multi-color leather onlay of tree on front cover.

6 watercolors (painted plein air by Donna Thomas while hiking in Yosemite) each with a different view of Yosemite Valley, mounted with black corner straps to the black coagulated handmade paper covering the inside of each panel.

Clamshell box holds both books, green cloth covers, leather skiver spine, black cloth sides, paper panel with title inset on cover.

Artists' statement:

A pilgrimage is the journey of seeker to a sacred place. Circumambulation is the pilgrimís ritual practice of walking circles around the shrine. In mid-June I find myself restless from spending the whole winter living in a house, and I yearn to spend my days and evenings in the outdoors as a devotee of nature. I am overflowing with anticipation for the coming summer in the Sierra; waterfalls are raging, the sun is clear and bright - through a sky not laden yet with summer dust or wildfire smoke - and ahead are the long days, with more time to spend on trails than in a tent. And so I make my early summer backpacking pilgrimage to Yosemite Valley. Itís a ritual I have come to love.

I made this book after a summer filled with several long backpack trips in the wilderness outside the rim of the Yosemite Valley. I created the book with the two parts as a way for the reader to see the Yosemite I see when I hike, to give a sense of the scale and grandeur. With the book set flat on a table, the 6-panel accordion can be set up as a folding screen around it, immersing the reader into the landscape. I chose the quotes used to accompany my paintings from the writings of authors that I read and re-read because of the respect they show for the wilderness, as a sacred place, a place of inspiration, and a place to find healing. It is my hope that this book will bring the reader to a place of reflection on these themes.

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© 2002 Peter and Donna Thomas