The mountains around Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Quite a few meters in altitude above Buchbinderei Matheisl and yet so closely connected to it. Because where there is a summit, there is also a summit register. And this is a piece of cultural heritage. At least here. Not industrially manufactured, but rather created by the hands of the local master bookbinder. At the small Matheisl family business, which has been around for four generations and is not very easy to find.
We bind home
Quite the opposite in fact. Like Harry Potter's Diagon Alley, one has to look really closely along Schmiedstrasse in Garmisch. Only then will you find the door and entrance to another world. A place filled with stacks of paper, piled high with boxes and teeming with books. The proprietor Bernhard Matheisl also bears an undeniable resemblance to Hogwarts Teacher Filius Flitwick; and can surely create magic too. How else would he be able to make the many products in this tightly packed two square meter space without losing his way in the leafy maze? Clearly there is magic in play! Or a woman with a plan. In this case, his daughter Sabina, who keeps an eye on the big picture and completes the family business: "I like the entire spectrum, because what many do not know is that we bind more than just books." Her profession involves a surprising array of real paper fireworks - from handmade cases, cardboard boxes and folders, to bound chronicles, theses and brochures, to individual presentation folders, photo albums and menus - the possibilities are endless, as are the customers' ideas. "We do things that are not necessarily available to buy. Made with absolute precision, gladly far removed from the DIN standards. Everything is done in-house and made by us from start to finish."
Next to the machines, such as the large guillotine cutter and the oversized board cutter along with the essential embossing press, the most important tools are experienced hands. When applying real gold leaf for example, which can be blown away by the tiniest puff of air and is placed along the spine of the book with intense concentration. Or hand stitched yarn bindings, which hold the pages together lengthwise.
This special skill is also essential when restoring old works. Add to this a great love of detail and a strong sense of appreciation - Bernhard expresses this as follows: "Books are like people, they have a life of their own from the very beginning. Extending this life in a manner that remains true to the original is something very close to our hearts." How well he does this is demonstrated by the old Dillherr Bible dating from 1690, which came in battered and went out looking like a true gem.
In addition to the many orders, Matheisl also sells his own products. All well thought out and of the best quality. Such as the refillable notepad that captures thoughts and prevents electronic smog. Or the yarn-bound cookbook, which keeps family treats and traditions together. Whether for locals or summiteers, in leather or fabric, hand-dyed or individually embossed - each piece by Buchbinderei Matheisl preserves what is valuable and gives memories a home.
There is a lot to discover.