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Dec. 4, 2020 | Friday
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NOTL design studio reopens as Madra Rua
Christie MacGrath stands inside of Madra Rua on the day of the reopening, July 18. (Jessica Maxwell/Niagara Now)

A design studio specializing in the production of printed textiles and homewares has reopened under a new name and invited other local female-owned businesses to celebrate together. 

Pop-ups of The Little Green Shop and Hometown Ice Cream joined in the post-pandemic reopening. 

On July 18, Christine  MacGrath relaunched Bibelot Design Studio as Madra Rua. 

She said she chose to rename her shop Madra Rua, which means red fox in Irish, as a tribute to her late father and a meaningful experience she had with some red foxes after he died. 

What started as a collaborative showroom and gallery has evolved into a space for MacGrath and her husband Reid to showcase their own work.  

The studio and gallery at 853 Lakeshore Rd. features a luxury line of home decor that is handcrafted in house by the couple. 

Textiles are block-printed, silk-screened or dyed on 100 per cent linen and then combined with other mediums such as wood and glass to create a variety of home furnishing items. 

“Our primary thing that we do is hand-printed textiles. It’s all printed on linen,” MacGrath said. 

“I’m from Ireland originally, both of my grandmothers were weavers in linen mills in Ireland and so I just love that leaf of linen and that nod to the history.” 

She said the hand-printed linen is then used to make home furnishings. 

“Most recently, I’ve been doing pottery as well and I’ve been doing that on and off 15 years, but I haven’t really had a chance to really delve into it but then COVID happened and I just love exploring that,” she said. 

MacGrath said the studio was used for production for most of the past seven years, but now that the space is set up to showcase her own work it feels like a whole new experience. 

“I feel like I’m reinventing myself,” she said. 

“I’m at a period of my life where we’ve been doing this for 30 years and just been a production studio and I was feeling very burnt out doing that.” 

“Now I feel like I’ve started all over again. I feel like I’m in my twenties and I’m just so excited.” 

Although the studio has made a shift toward showcasing work made by MacGrath, she said having the pop-up shops for the reopening was something she would like to continue. 

“I’d like to do these little pop-up shops and have local people come in, especially local woman who are running businesses. There’s lots of them.” 

Tara Rosling said her Little Green Shop is a “community-oriented, eco-friendly company based in Niagara-on-the-Lake that aims to cater to the residents in town in terms of their interest in developing green awareness and becoming more eco-friendly.” 

The products are all sourced from Canada, but Rosling tries to get them all as local and as natural as possible. 

“I think one of the really exciting things during the time of the pandemic is that we’re realizing how important it is to go local, go small, go community-oriented,” she said. 

“Artists supporting artists, women supporting women, local supporting local, feels like a really imperative time to do that.” 

Hometown Ice Cream makes all of its own ice creams and baked goods which makes Linda Vandewetering feel good about her products because she knows what is in everything her customers buy. 

“You know when I really value somebody and I see great people, it’s like, sure let’s work together,” said Vandewetering.

“I think it’s so important to connect with businesses that do everything themselves.”