I stumbled upon Vintage Garage while I was enjoying a First Friday gallery event in the Santa Fe Arts District in Denver. The streets were filled with people drinking wine and bobbing and weaving through the many galleries on the strip. As soon as I entered this small store with an inescapable labyrinth feel, I knew I had found a gem.
Memories of my childhood were all around- rotary dial phones, huge animal cookie jars with bulging eyes, sleek and simple wood dressers, retro patterned avocado green dinnerware sets, not to mention the aroma. You know that sharp scent.
It was a miracle that my husband and I left with just a single item- a Marüshka print.
Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with Marüshka, let me queue you in to this little underground silk screen obsession.
Let me begin by stating that I was born and raised on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Marüshka is a design and silk screen textile manufacturing company that was based in Spring Lake, Michigan. The company began making their iconic and affordable silk screen prints in the 1970s. The simple, stark and graphic prints depict the landscapes and wildlife that are common sights along the Lake Michigan shoreline, including sea grasses, sailboats and birds. Although if you’re lucky- you may stumble upon the less ubiquitous fruit, architecture, plant or animal prints.
These pieces have a very distinct style. You know a Marüshka when you see one. These clean prints are not rare. You can find them on Etsy, eBay and at thrift stores, as the art is currently experiencing a rebirth of popularity as collectibles.
Wistfully, the very last Marüshka print was produced in the 1980s. The company had decided to focus on apparel. You can find some revived prints today, under the new name Marooshka. But there is simply nothing like finding a mint condition print while digging through items at a thrift store.
Needless to say, I will continue to check back in to the Vintage Garage from time to time to see what prints I stumble upon. Purchasing a screen on Etsy would be too unimaginative for this lifelong thrifter.