Stitched Together

Austin artist's handcrafted works celebrate old-world tradition

Austin artist's handcrafted works celebrate old-world tradition

Editor's note: CultureMap is proud to present the latest installment in our partnership with KLRU's documentary series Arts in Context. This unique series celebrates stories about the arts in Austin and the people who make this such a vibrant and creative city.

Upon having her journal stolen in a train station while traveling across Europe, Mychal Mitchell became determined to find another book to record her adventures in for the remainder of her trip. She stumbled across a bookbinding studio in Venice, was introduced to its owner, and fell in love with the old-world style of handmade leather journals. Now, more than 20 years later, Mitchell uses the techniques she learned from her Venetian artisan friend, and ones she has come up with on her own, to make beautiful leather journals and photo albums at her East Austin studio, Iona Handcrafted Books. Her enduring creations, as seen above, offer a way to preserve one’s thoughts and memories for a lifetime and beyond.

KLRU-TV, Austin PBS is dedicated to telling stories that entertain, inspire, and change our lives. KLRU highlights what makes Austin unique — whether music, arts, or public issues — by creating and distributing award-winning original content. KLRU produces several series including Austin City Limits, Arts in Context, Central Texas Gardener, Civic Summit, and Overheard With Evan Smith. As a nonprofit educational organization, KLRU also prepares children to succeed in school and creates lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Arts in Context Iona Handmade books "Stitched Together"
Mychal Mitchell and her many leather rolls at Iona Handcrafted Books. Photo courtesy of KLRU-TV
Arts in Context Iona Handmade books "Stitched Together"
Mitchell tears paper by hand to fill out each journal.  Photo courtesy of KLRU-TV
Arts in Context Iona Handmade books "Stitched Together"
Arts in Context Iona Handmade books "Stitched Together"