Marliese Richmond : Three Bears Print

Marliese Richmond is the owner and designer at Three Bears Prints, an artisan textile business based in Perthshire, Scotland. The Three Bears Prints website was launched in 2017. It offers a wide range of beautiful fabrics and wallpapers which are all created using original artwork designs, and a combination of heritage and cutting-edge printmaking techniques including linocuts, collagraph prints, laser cut wood, and illustrations.

Marliese creates her designs from a small workshop in her home in Perthshire. Inspired by the countryside around her, much of her collection is themed around nature, wildlife and Scotland’s flora and fauna. She creates her designs using a traditional linocut method, or more recently, using laser cut woodblocks which she produces at The Famous Grouse Ideas Centre in Perth’s Creative Exchange.

“I work part time for Scottish Forestry and my designs are heavily influenced by my day job! I love nature and this has worked its way into various collections all of which my customers seem to adore. My best seller is the Red Hen fabric, a simple, repeat pattern of a red hen on white background.

“I’m self-taught, and started as a keen hobbyist; my first product was a lino cut Christmas card. When I started, I was focused solely on traditional lino cutting – I have a small printing press at home – which I used to create designs for fabrics and wallpaper. To do this, you dig into the lino with hand tools and print with the uppermost surface – so you have to plan your design in reverse.

“I was introduced to the idea of using the Universal Laser Systems laser cutter to cut wood by Scott, the Technologist in Residence at the FGIC. It’s still early days and I’m just out of the research phase, but what I love most about it is the wonderful texture that shines through from the wood into my final designs.

“I’m largely using offcuts of wood from my dad’s garage – he was quite the hoarder! – and the idea of creating something new out of something old is one that appeals to me. I’ve also used materials from Glasgow Wood Recycling. More recently, I have been cutting designs from sawn veneers from timber sourced in the Highlands, and the results are stunning: the grain of these woods shine through. It’s all about Remake, Recycle, Renew at Three Bears!

“With linocutting, digging in with the tools gives you an element of randomness. In order to achieve that through laser cutting, which is such a precise process, you need to achieve this in other ways – such as using a hand drawn design and a natural product such as wood. get that in a technology based. I found that difficult at first, but in fact, I have learned to use it to my advantage with designs such as my train tracks.

“There are similarities in the process insomuch as you need to consider the detail before you print – the ratio of negative to positive space is what makes for any aesthetically pleasing handmade print. However, laser cutting enables you to create something much more detailed and smaller scale, which is not possible through linocutting, and it has opened a whole new field of printing for me. It’s incredibly exciting and I am bursting with ideas.

In addition, I have had to learn a whole new software package, in order to transfer my hand drawn ideas into format which can be read by the laser cutter. The Technologist in Residence supported me to experiment with Adobe Illustrator to create my vector files, which I was able to do at the FGIC initially. He then flagged the free vector software Inkscape which I have now downloaded for use at home.

“Working at the FGIC has allowed me to go off in completely different directions. It’s so much quicker once you get going, allowing you the luxury of a more flexible exploration stage. Once translated into a vector file, my drawings become the woodblock design and if the first one doesn’t work, I’m not starting the long process of lino digging to get to the second attempt.

“I sell on Spoonflower website which is incredibly easy to use. They do all the marketing which is great because I’m a typical time-poor artist – kids, a day job and dogs! Once I’m happy with my woodblock, I make a fabric sample of the repeat pattern and using the Fujitsu high-through-put scanner. This is so valuable, as it helps visualise how the fabric will look, if the scale is right or if the colour needs to be altered in any way. Once I am content, I create an image file which I can upload the site. They create the wallpaper and fabric and send directly to the customer.

“This coming together of hand crafted, nature-based designs, with recycled wood and high-tech equipment is fascinating and is now becoming part of my business story. Printing from laser cut woodblocks is still relatively new in the printmaking world, and it is thrilling to be experimenting with this medium. This gives me a truly unique selling point, one which I simply could not have afforded if it weren’t for The Famous Grouse Ideas Centre.”

Explore the Three Bears Prints website or on Spoonflower.

If you are a creative business looking to expand your horizons, or if you are a Perth & Kinross based SME seeking a creative solution to grow your business, email FGIC for an introductory session.

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