Three Trees Bindery

American Made Since 2010

Michelle Skiba

Charlotte, North Carolina
Three Trees Bindery is a small bookbinding studio specializing in custom wood photo albums, guest books and blank journals.
North Carolina

Tell us about your business.

Three Trees Bindery began as the marriage of two of my favorite things: trees and books. As an avid journal keeper and book collector, creating books from things found in the forest evolved slowly and naturally over time. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to utilize my skill, passion, and creativity and earn my livelihood in the process. There are many aspects that go into any design. For me, function and beauty are the two most important. I love taking an ordinary, functional object like a book and transforming it into a beautiful thing. We live in a world where we are increasingly disconnected from nature and books are quickly becoming obsolete. It is my intention to create something out of these two elements that can be used in a way that is relevant to our modern lives and hopefully preserves something of both in the process. At heart, I am romantic, nostalgic and sentimental. I love special stories and memories. I make books to hold the things closest to your heart.

What makes your business stand out?

I see my business and my work as a collaboration. Each book I make is only the beginning of the creative process. I am one thread in the fabric that will continue to unfold as the books fall into the hands and lives of others. With many forms of craft and art, the act of creation culminates with the completed piece of work. People can use or view your object, and in this way participate and bring their own meaning to the work. But with books the outcome is different. Books invite and truly demand the viewer to be involved in the continuing expansion of the art. I love that my work will be filled with your astounding words, pictures and memories. It is a constantly expanding creative process and one that I am quite honored to be a part of.

What's the best business advice you've received?

The best advice is often times the most simple. My motto has always been "Do what you LOVE!" It has been my experience that the only way to find any measure of lasting fulfillment or success is by doing what I am passionate about. It may be a nontraditional way to approach business, but I measure my success by my level of joy and excitement. If I wake up in the morning and I can't wait to get started, I know I am on the right track. Having your own business is always a gamble. There are many things in life that tell you why you can't do something. Love is the fuel that can keep you moving through all the ups and downs. It is the light you need to see through the doubt and uncertainty. Chances are if you love something, other people will also love, want, or need it too and the whole purpose of business is to fill a need. I believe by following what we are passionate about, we can truly be of service to each other and to the world. If you love something enough it will come to life!

Mark Your Calendar

  • Nominations
    June 3–Aug. 29, 2014

    Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.

    Nominate yourself
  • Judging
    June 23–Sept. 8, 2014

    Judges will select finalists throughout this period.

    Meet the judges
  • Online Voting
    Sept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014

    Vote for your favorite American makers.

    See the finalists
  • Winners Announced
    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.

    See past Award Winners
  • American Made Event
    Nov. 7–8, 2014

    Join us for our annual event in New York City.

    Buy tickets now

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