by Bob Bahr

If you’ve ever been talking with Tom Lucas and thought somebody ought to write a book about him, take heart. Somebody did.

Lucas’ new gallery in downtown Dubois, Wyoming was packed last night as collectors, friends, and lingering SKBers dropped by to congratulate him and buy a signed copy of Tom Lucas: Western Artist, written by Susan Carse Norris. The book tells the story of his life and explores his painting, beading, and creation of Native American tools and weapons.

“Over the many years, people have suggested that they write a book about me, and that came about when in 2007 when Susan and I met,” says Lucas. “It was a friendly and casual meeting—nothing too special—but I thought she was a great lady. She and her husband moved to the area, and in 2014 I built a big powwow drum and I wanted to show it to her. Those drums have a sound that permeates to your very soul. It has a real primal effect or feel. And she decided what she needed to do is write a book about the paintings and drums and war bonnets and beadwork and bows that I make. She decided it would make an interesting book.”

Norris remembers it the same way. “When he beat the drum, it just coalesced,” she says. “I said to my husband, ‘This needs to be done. His stories and talent should be reported or it could be lost. I wonder if he would be interested.'”

He was, and that started a two-year process. “The hard part was writing it—organizing it so it would be easy to read and interesting,” Norris says. “It needed to be informative, but also, his stories needed to be reported in the way he wanted them to be, in a way that was true to his spirit.”

The painless part, as friends of Lucas know, was listening to him talk. “It was easy and delightful to listen to his story and hear about his life,” says the author.

For more information on Lucas, click here. Ω