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The art and history of painted floor cloths

Posted on Monday, January 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Painted cloths began their popularity in the early 1400’s in Europe, and by the 1700’s, the idea was expanded to floor coverings.  By this time, America was producing its own at a much lower cost.

When the Industrial Revolution introduced linoleum, painted floor cloths were no longer popular.  In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the concept was reborn, especially when vintage homes were being restored.

Today canvas, duck fabric or linoleum are the basis to create the floor cloth.  Floor cloths are not only used on the floor, but are also wall hangings, table runners, dresser scarves, chair covers, headboards, serving trays, etc.

This class, taught by Vyvyan Powers Rundgren, will teach students how to create both a rug and a table runner.  Rungdren became interested in creating painted floor cloths fourteen years ago, both on canvas and linoleum, and more recently has starting creating floor quilts.  She is also a watercolorist, needle pointer and gardener.

On Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25 and Jan. 26, students will learn how to create floor cloths with an experienced instructor.  Friday’s class is from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday’s is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The cost is $140 per student.  Register at the Louisa Arts Center box office, located at 212 Fredericksburg Ave., Louisa, VA, or by telephone at (540) 967-2200.