ABOUT the BOOKBINDER  Sara Brooks Charles

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


I have always felt a connection to books, whether a blank journal or a novel. As a child, I enjoyed a visit to the library and spent countless hours at my neighborhood bookstore. In high school, I made and sold ‘zines and in college and graduate school I created artist books. The connection I felt to books early on in my life continues. Now in my mid 30s, I run a business making handcrafted notebooks and journals.

While studying photography at the University of Oklahoma, I was introduced to bookbinding. I 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. My contracted ended after one year and I decided to travel for a month. After traveling for 1200 miles on a bicycle, I moved to Asheville, North Carolina. I had no access to photography facilities and so I picked up bookmaking again. All I needed was paper, a needle, and some thread. After taking a few workshops and classes to brush up on my skills, I started my own business.


In addition to running my small business, I teach workshops on bookmaking at Waterworks Art Studio in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I live in Norman, OK with my husband, son and two dogs.


ABOUT the BOOK BINDERY Original Brooks

Last Day at the Firefly Market in Denver

In 2013, I founded Original Brooks Book Bindery. The bindery specializes in hand sewn journals made from reclaimed and vintage materials. In 2018, I relocated the bindery from Asheville, NC to Norman, OK.


When I started the bindery seven years ago, I made a conscious decision to minimize the use of new materials whenever possible. I buy most of my paper from estate sales and thrift stores. Not only am I diverting paper from the landfill, but it allows me to create one-of-a-kind books.


Original Brooks books are sold online in my Etsy Shop and in select retail stores across the country. I also travel in the region to art fairs and market. My current travel calendar can be found here.


Thank you for reading,

Sara Brooks Bookbinder