About Floorcloths

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Artist Kathy Cooper says, "Floorcloths are paintings crafted into rugs ... a good marriage of art and craft."

Kathy Cooper floorcloths are individually hand-crafted using canvas, acrylic paints and sealants. Each painting is signed and dated. While the materials used to construct the floorcloth are basic, the result is quite durable. A well-constructed floorcloth will provide years of pleasure and hold up to substantial use.

Kathy's paintings depict whimsical graphic images in rich, wonderful colors. "My designs are primarily about color and how it relates to the adjacent color. My images come from my personal experiences, the garden, my kids and all of the visual stimulation around me. I enjoy the response of my viewers when they are inspired by the colors, when they respond to the energy color gives."

History of Floorcloths

A floorcloth, or floor-cloth, was a generic term that referred to a carpet substitute of either treated or untreated wool, linen (flax), or cotton. Floorcloths went by many names: painted, printed, stamped, or common carpet, oil floor cloth, wax cloth, fancy-pattern cloth, Masonic flooring, summer floor mat, drugget, crumb cloths and various combinations of the above. The first written reference to a painted floor cloth is a 1722 British receipt for a "floor oyled cloth". Originally made of canvas, linseed oil, whiting and pigments, a painted floorcloth was waterproof, insect resistant and easily cleaned.

Floorcloths are one of the earliest forms of floorcoverings, attaining great popularity in England in the 1700's. They were first imported by Americans during the early years of our history and eventually manufactured here. Interest in floorcloths declined with the development of linoleum around the turn of the century.

The second half of the 20th century has seen a resurgence of interest in the medium reflecting the breadth and variety of contemporary art. Floorcloths have become a fashionable alternative to area rugs.

"'Tis unnecessary to say one word about the convenience to families of these cloths; they have become an almost indispensable article in the list of domestic paraphernalia."

City Gazette and Daily Advertiser
Charleston, SC
June 13, 1809

"These carpets possess a decided advantage over all others, as they are more durable, and in warm weather much more comfortable, and easier to keep clean, and in hot climates the only kind that are not subject to injury from insects; in winter they may be covered with other carpeting without damage, and the room is kept warmer ..."

New Hampshire Gazette
April 8, 1828