Stenciled and Painted Floorcloth with Karen Graves

Floorcloths are actually canvas area rugs. These rugs were popular in 18th century England and could be found in many wealthy period homes. There were many designs including wood graining, tiles, and marbling. Eventually, American colonists began to create these durable and functional floor covers. Once again, floorcloths are popular and fun to create.

We will be creating a floorcloth measuring three feet by five feet. The canvas will be double primed on the top side and single primed on the bottom.  A base coat of off white will also be applied to the top side so your canvas will be ready to work on immediately. Our sample floorcloth is a checkered design that incorporates a compass rose. You may choose to paint another design and I will have many stencils that may be used. All materials will be supplied including tape, brushes, sponges, paints and final finish.


Maximum class size: 8

A move from Michigan to Sturbridge, MA brought Karen to New England and an introduction to the wonderful world of Early American Decoration. After many visits to Old Sturbridge Village she developed a love and respect for all the country painted tinware, floorcloths, decorated trays and primitive paintings. Karen became a member of the Historical Society of Early American Decoration in 1972 after submitting two pieces for judging. Since that time she has received awards in theorem painting, country painting, and bronze powder stencilling on tin and wood. Karen also teaches other Early American techniques such as gold leaf, reverse glass painting, freehand bronze, brides boxes, fractures, scherenschnitte, floorcloths, primitive painting and pen and ink applications. Karen has taught classes at Sturbridge Village, chapter meetings and the Historical Society of Early American Decoration’s annual fall workshop meetings. The past 23 years she has been busy teaching at the Handicraft Club in Providence, RI. Karen is currently serving as corresponding secretary on the board of trustees of the Historical Society of Early American Decoration.

The mission of the Nantucket Historical Association is to tell the inspiring stories of Nantucket through its collections, programs, and properties.

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