Friday, June 5, 2009

Evolution of a Canvas Floorcloth

I used stencils and tape for diamonds on this floorcloth
I freehand painted and stenciled this one last year we go! I love floorcloths....I have ever since I spotted one at a stenciling convention I attended in Texas years ago. Here is a little history on the canvas floorcloth.
Floorcloths are a part of our American heritage. Floorcloths have also been called painted canvas, oil cloths or floor canvases. It is known that at least three American President's have owned floorcloths. They have found them listed in the inventories kept by their estates. In 1796, George Washington purchased a floorcloth from Roberts & Co. for $14.82. Thomas Jefferson had one in the small dining room and another in the great hall of the Presidential Mansion. Jefferson had his imported from England for $3.00 a square foot. The inventory at Monticello also shows a few canvases listed. President John Adams also listed a canvas floorcloth in his White House inventory.
Several companies produced painted floorcloths, one of the first was Smith & Baber of London, England around 1753. Here in America, Boston, New York and Philadelphia were known for producing floorcloths. Traveling artist's were hired by wealthy homeowners to create beautiful and sometimes elaborate floorcloths. It became a status symbol. For those with less money, simple solid floorcloths were created.
Floorcloths were first produced in England and used to insulate the floors against the cold and windy winters. In the summer months when wool rugs were removed for cleaning the canvas floorcloths protected the wood floors from damage.
Canvas floorcloths began to fall from favor with the invention of Linoleum, which was cheap and easily mass produced. Recently, however, the canvas floorcloth has been enjoying a renewed popularity, in part powered by the 'Go Green' movement. Canvas floorcloths are great for anyone with allergies to the nasties that hide in carpet fibers. They are very easy and green to clean...just damp mop and that's it. No harsh chemicals needed and they last for years!
With the popularity of wood flooring, floorcloths make a lot of sense and they can add beauty and style to your home. Think of them as art you can walk on.


Wanda said...

Those are so nice Janet...each so different but I like them both...I might find it hard to steo on one...for fear of doing harm.

Kelly Ann said...

Great floorcloths but I had to laugh, the carpet you laid them on to photograph are the same ones we use to have in our den...way too funny!

Fifi Flowers said...

LOVE those floor cloths!
I would be honoured if you would like to feature me... merci beaucoup!