This local artisan crafts souvenirs you won’t find in any shopping mall
By SHERI RADFORD
Photos by KK Law
Monique Ouellette never does things the easy way. Visit her studio, and you won’t see a single sewing machine. All of the gorgeous leather totes, satchels, journal covers and bracelets hanging from the walls were cut and stitched—painstakingly—by her own hand. She embraces the distinctive marks and textures that make each piece of leather different, not viewing them as flaws but rather as evidence of character, and she leaves the leather raw and uncut as often as possible. Before making a single stitch, she carefully measures out where each stitch will go, then punches a hole in the leather for each one. A journal cover might take two hours in total to construct, while a complex bag with zippers and pockets requires nine or 10 hours. Each creation is undeniably unique—just like Ouellette.
Stop by Trace of Grey Designs, Ouellette’s studio/store in Railtown, to customize your new favourite bag by choosing the leather, pockets, hardware and more.