Friday, May 20, 2016

Bookbinding in Los Angeles

©Anne Rita Taylor 2016

I like to take a class when I travel. I found Charlene Matthews Bindery in Hollywood when I visited Los Angeles during Halloween 2010. We emailed to come up with a day when she had a workshop. Turned out I was the only student!

Charlene’s bindery is a storefront on Melrose Avenue where you can see the famous Hollywood sign. Charlene has bound books for movies such as Indiana Jones. We had a whole day - including lunch - of bookbinding. I was in heaven! 

Charlene showed me around her fabulous shop and asked me what I’d like to learn. Even though I was bookbinding for a while I look for alternatives to use. Charlene let me know she was using something new: a fine mesh screen-like material for pages and covers. 

Charlene demonstrated, covering the fine mesh with paper; we each made covers. We made the spine pieces, figuring out which paper to wrap around them; we hole-punched the signatures using lovely watercolor paper, and sewed the text block through the mesh onto the spine.

Since I made two spine pieces Charlene suggested I make another book with a leather wrap-around cover. I learned that the thread does not need to go through every station (hole) that was punched. It was a revelation to me!

I love these variations of the Tightback Longstitch Bindings taught by Charlene. I had not used spine pieces before and the books open flat for art journaling.

Charlene sent me home with some of that fine mesh material which I’ve since found at Ace Hardware. Recently I bought a whole roll of it and I'll use it too.  


  1. Any way you could do a step by step tutorial or just scan the instructions and post them? This kind like a variation I'd love to try!

    1. Unfortunately those instructions are not mine to post - they are owned by Charlene. On another note, I'm planning to teach a class on French Link Binding this summer if you are in the Houston area.