Business Spotlight: Iona Handcrafted Books

Business Spotlight: Iona Handcrafted Books
By mattc

By Karla Rava

Mychal Mitchell was an Architectural Design student from Arizona State University, backpacking through Europe for six months. Her journal was stolen along with all of her other belongings while staying at a hostel. She replaced her journal at a shop in Venice, Italy, and also took an interest, so the owner let her stay and taught her the craft of bookbinding.

She bound her first book and went on to binding more books for friends and family. Soon thereafter, she began selling her books at farmers markets and festivals finding this new acquired skill to be more than just a hobby.

Fast forward to present day, Mychal is the owner and bookbinder of Iona Handcrafted Books, established in Seattle in 1994. Mychal was born in Arkansas with Scottish/Irish descent, so she felt it seemed fitting to name her business after the Scottish island Iona.

She says, “It is where the Book of Kells was written, and has long been considered a place where the book is sacred.” Eventually she got to visit the island of Iona and it didn’t disappoint; she confirmed it was a place she’d found a connection with and even magical.

Iona Handcrafted books maker and book close up shots

Her style of bookbinding has been around for centuries and is very durable. They are made without any glue and are designed to be heirlooms. Books can be purchased online or at her studio in Fremont.

Mychal says, “I have loads of journals and photo albums on the shelves ready to take home. You can also come in and pick your favorite leather, paper, size, hardware closure mechanisms, and I will make it custom for you at no extra charge.”

Mychal also travels on the road to sell or showcase her books at fine art shows. From time to time she even wins awards. Last year, she won an award at the St. Louis Art Fair in the mixed media category and another in April at the Fort Worth Art Festival.

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