Printed by Hand: 50 Years of Marüshka Artwork

Marüshka is a popular shopping destination for visitors of the Grand Haven area, and has been attracting tourists for over 50 years. This summer, Marüshka is celebrating 50 years of business in the Grand Haven area.

The Tri-Cities Historical Museum is hosting an exhibit called Printed by Hand: 50 Years of Marüshka Artwork. The exhibit will run from June 22 through December 18 and will showcase many of the original designs that founder, Richard Sweet, created at the very start of his business, 50 years ago.

The History of Marüshka

Marüshka began in 1971 by Richard (Dick) Sweet, a high school teacher who quit his job to follow his passion for art. In the first years of the business, Marüshka created prints for office furniture such as cubicles as well as hand-printed wall art. Just a few years later, in 1974, a former student of Dick’s, Randy Smith, joined him as a screen-printer. 

Throughout the 70s, Marüshka produced a variety of designs and fabrics that were used for office partitions, public art, and wall décor. At the time, Marüshka was most well known for their canvas art that was displayed in offices, hospitals, businesses, and people’s homes. Samples of the original designs are on display at the exhibit. 

These books hold samples of designs and patterns from the 70s and 80s.

In 1985, Dick and Randy shifted from wall art to apparel and accessories using the same original screen-printing techniques. With new products, came the birth of the new name, Michigan Rag Company. Chris Sine, an employee of Sweet was a key player in what became known as Michigan Rag clothing. He took scraps from different prints and sewed them into shorts. From there, they continued to make pants, coats, dresses, and so much more. That was the beginning of Michigan Rag Co.

Sine modeling Michigan Rag Co. pants.

In 1994, Marüshka was featured on Orvis. Made from sailcloth, the Michigan Rag Co. Sea Gull Jacket, Coral Reef Jacket, and Orvis Nautical Flags jacket were hot sellers. Now seen as vintage items, they are highly sought after in resale shops, Poshmark, and ebay. If you still own one of these jackets, you might just want to hold on to it!

Orvis catalog featuring Marüshka’s designs from 1994.

Marüshka Today

What started as a passion for art, quickly became a business with growing popularity. Today, Marüshka consists of a team of unique and talented individuals who have a passion for the hand-print process.

Today, Marüshka sells their apparel in retail outlets all across America and they are popular among all ages. Each and every item that Marüshka sells is printed by hand in its flagship store in Grand Haven, Michigan.

Marüshka no longer makes or sells the original wall art pieces, however the original designs are now seeing a boom in popularity and are in high-demand. The retro designs Sweet first created are now being used as wearable art on t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other apparel items. 

You can shop anything from clothing to housewares with designs inspired by nature, animals and Lake Michigan. All prints are made from original art created by local artists using earth-friendly water based inks.

The team of hard-working and passionate individuals who delight in quality products and outstanding customer service.

Visit Marüshka in Grand Haven

If you are in the Grand Haven area this summer, don’t miss the opportunity to check out Marüshka for yourself! Learn more about their history at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum and enjoy an afternoon of shopping at their retail store.

In addition to their flagship store, this summer Marüshka will also have an outlet store store set up in the old Stefano building (12 Washington St.), where they will offer a variety of products and designs at discounted prices. 

Randy with the Grand Haven Tribune article ‘ Marüshka Celebates 50 Years.’

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