by: Brenda Weeaks, MyShelf.Com
Lisa Curry Mair brings readers, crafters, and decorators a book about floorcloth. Now, before you move on, thinking: "oh another how-to craft book," let me first say this isn't a craft as much as an art, and if you aren't the crafty type, then once you gaze through this book you will most likely hunt down someone who is and have one made. A floorcoth is a heavyweight cotton canvas with latex paint colors and a couple coats of polyurethane sealer. Our ancestors used worn sails from ships. The author tells us that floorcloths were a regular part of our American ancestors' households, created to remind them of the home they left across the seas. The cloths also had other uses, such as crumb catchers protecting existing carpets; they reduced drafts on wide-board floors, and replaced wool and rag rugs during the summer months because they were cool underfoot. The 1809 White House had one; so did the governor of Massachusetts in the early 1700s. In 1739, John Carwitham, an engraver in England, made 24 plates of designs for floorcloths and other floor decorations. It's an old and useful art.
The book starts with the history of floor cloths then moves into creating of them. First with the tens steps of preparing the canvas, decorating it and sealing it. She generously gives ideas and examples of patterns and borders, discusses combining colors, painting techniques and presents a gallery of floorcloths, which gained plenty of reaction in my house when I showed them around -- my favorites being Alan Vaughn's Circular CDR with Spokes and Pamela Marwede's Lily Pond. I found the book to be solid and generous in its instructions and ideas. A floorcloth would make a wonderful addition to any house, in any room. Floorcloth Magic truly is a wonderful addition to crafters and artist library. It's the kind of book that has to be shared. I heartily recommend it.
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