the t.o.g story
"work is love made visible" - Kahlil Gibran
As with everything in life’s vast embrace, trace of grey designs is a story strung together with varied steps, pathways, growings, learnings and countless beautiful details in between, that have made it what it is today. I am a person who endeavours to live and find meaning within the details of life, so for me it is important to share some of this story and its details with you.
In the beginning...
There were two. Claudia Krieger and Monique Ouellette.
In 2011, we created trace of grey designs out of a deep and mutual, like minded desire to share with the world, beautiful designs in the form of one of a kind, made entirely by hand, leather goods.
When we first met in 2009, Claudia was well versed in leather crafting. She had combined her natural talent for exceptional creativity, with a desire to learn how to work with leather. It is most accurate to say that she is self taught. Claudia learned this skill through good, old fashioned trial and error, mixed with a deep belief in herself, that she could bring into form the designs she pictured in her mind. This is exactly what she did. Claudia’s designs were beautiful, unique and functional. Wearable art, is a fitting descriptive. Her pieces were sold in a few Vancouver shops and many lucky friends and family received them as gifts.
I had dreamed about doing creative design work for most of my life, but had not been able to put my finger on what it was exactly, that I was looking for. Hence, this desire found expression in my day to day living, style of dress, traveling, learning and general life explorations. I figured if I just followed my heart as best that I could, life would somehow lead me to that which I was looking for and desiring to be.
It was therefore no accident, to cross paths with Claudia. I was instantly drawn to her beautiful designs. I felt a knowing that I would learn how to do leather work and also that I could do it, even though I had never done it before. It was one of those good, gut feeling moments.
So Claudia began to teach me, step by step, what she had taught herself to do.
Her natural teaching ability and impeccable eye for detail made it very easy for me to learn. I caught on to the process quite naturally, and was thrilled at the satisfaction I experienced in working with my hands and allowing design ideas to flood my imagination. It was the beginning, of my dream coming into form. Wow. I was beyond grateful and excited to see where this would take me.
Where we are now...
From 2011 to 2017 Claudia and I put our hearts and souls into trace of grey designs. We followed every opportunity that came across our path, and courageously chose to say 'yes' to invitations from life that seemed far bigger than what we were capable of or had done before. The learning was invaluable and most rewarding. Sometimes our pieces were a collaboration, but most often individually designed and produced. Claudia and I share a very similar and complimentary aesthetic, so we were each others' sounding board, source of inspiration and testing ground for new ideas. What has evolved into the t.o.g brand, most definitely reflects the combination of both of us.
In January of 2018 Claudia stepped out of trace of grey designs, following the call of her own heart to pursue other new and creative opportunities.
I celebrate how far Claudia and I took trace of grey designs, and the success we were together. I also celebrate her new path, and my new opportunity to take t.o.g into it’s next paradigm of existence. For me, Claudia will be woven into the details of each piece that I continue to create. Her inspiration, beauty and style are bound to the legacy of trace of grey designs, and for this I am only grateful.
As always, I will move forward in the way I know best...
Follow my heart, endeavour to live into my dreams, enjoy the process and trust the infallible support of life to show the way.