Maple And Oak Designs is mostly me, Leonie. I am the owner, designer & maker at Maple And Oak Designs. Originally from lovely Lübeck in northern Germany, I travelled Australia, Latin America, North America and Europe and called Calgary close to the Canadian Rockies my home for 6 years before recently moving to Québec City in Eastern Canada.
It is my passion to design and sew vintage-inspired, funky and bold fashion accessories. I went to university to study history in my early twenties and even though I don’t work in that field anymore, my fascination with historic topics remains. Old photos, historic artefacts, old diaries and fashions of times gone by inspire my designs as much as nature, especially flowers do. Another big source of inspiration is travelling; I always try to travel as much as I can to fill my head with new impressions and creativity.
My love for sewing and design must be in my genes. My mother made clothes for me and my brother when we were little. My grandma used to sew a lot of her own wardrobe as my mom does now. I inherited my first sewing machine from my great-auntie on my Dad’s side when she moved into a nursing home but what impressed me most was that my great-grandmother turned army coats into stylish dresses after the Second World war. If you’re interested in a more detailed account of my relationship with sewing, you can find it here.
I believe in living as eco-conscious as possible which is one reason why I mainly work with reclaimed and vintage fabrics. Occasionally, I can’t resist the temptation of a bright new but retro looking fabric. When I do, I make a point of choosing organic fabrics or fabric remnants. Incorporating up-cycled fabrics in my designs enables me to create unique and one of a kind items while minimizing my impact on the environment. Another advantage of using recycled fabrics is that they already tell you a story, so I always know what kind of accessory they’re going to be as soon as I see them. Textile waste is a huge problem, and landfill sites are full of discarded fabrics like old clothes and home decor but also vintage fabrics. Maple And Oak Designs is committed to help reduce the strain on the planet’s resources by saving old fabrics from becoming landfill and up-cycling them into new fun accessories.
I am also the writer of “The Maple And Oak Diaries” – the Maple And Oak blog where you can find tutorials on how to best wear my designs, follow me on my handmade-themed travels or be inspired by all kinds of crafty goodness.
And this is Guillaume. He’s my husband and the reason why I moved to Canada. His job description would read like this: product photographer, model, moving helper (as in: he loads the car for me before craft shows), sewing assistant & sales rep. When he’s not busy helping out Maple And Oak Designs or working his day-job, you can find him taking photos of nature, admiring vintage cars or playing with dogs.
I am very happy to have many friends who are willing to lend a hand when I need one. There are some who are professional photographers and collaborate with me on photo shoots, some are graphic designers and illustrators who help me out with their skills and others are wonderful models and market helpers. Thank you.
I hope you’re all having a good time here at Maple And Oak Designs!
Thanks for stopping by,