All the time I am asked how I became a bookbinder. So here is the quick version of my story.


While studying photography at the University of Oklahoma, I took a few bookmaking classes and immediately loved it, but my focus was on photography and my career path was to be an educator and artist. 


In 2010, I earned my MFA from Indiana University and started teaching full time at IUPUI. After one year, my contracted ended and I decided to travel. After traveling for 1200 miles on a bicycle, I moved to Asheville, North Carolina. With no access to photography facilities or a studio, I picked up bookmaking again. All I needed was paper, a needle, and some thread. After playing around with book making for a few years, I decided to take the plunge and become bookbinder and start a full-time business.

I have taught classes and workshops in photography and bookmaking at Indiana University, Herron School of Art & Design, Warren Wilson, Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Center, and Bookworks of Asheville. Last year, I was the recipient of the North Carolina Regional Artist Project Grant. This year I was selected by the Norman Arts Council to run bookbinding workshop through their Undercover Artist Program. 

When I am not making books, I can be found at home relaxing with my dog Monty the Great Dane or riding my bicycle around town. I currently live in Norman, OK.

ABOUT the BOOK BINDERY Original Brooks

Original Brooks is a small book binding studio located in Norman, Oklahoma (formally Asheville, NC) and was started in 2013. My first studio was a seven-foot counter in the corner of my living room and I only had a few basic hand tools. Six years and a few thousand handcrafted journals later, my studio has expanded to a 300 square foot space. Original Brooks bindery sells journals online and in retail stores across the country.


The bindery specializes in hand sewn journals made from reclaimed and vintage materials.  I buy paper from thrift stores and estate sales where I salvage composition notebooks, business letterhead, stationery, and other paper ephemera. Since I use materials that are unique and vintage, most of the book bindery's products are one-of-a-kind.


Every journal, whether a custom order or from my Etsy Shop, is handcrafted with great care. I pay attention to the smallest of details and each one is designed for ease of use and enjoyment. Each journal is a handmade original.


Follow Original Brooks on Instagram for information on workshops, where I am selling my hand bound journals next, and to enjoy my adventures in bookmaking.  

Thank you for reading,

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© 2020 by SARA CHARLES