Historically, canvas rugs, also known as floorcloths, first came to fashion in 18th century England with the wealthy set; intended to mimic expensive floor treatments like parquet flooring, tile, and marble, floorcloths were eventually adopted for use in middle-class homes as well, which inspired the expansion of designs and styles.
Eventually, they were imported to the US but around the time that floorcloth manufacturing was in the process of being set up in America, linoleum was patented (1864.) Linoleum was incredibly sturdy and much cheaper to produce than floorcloths, so it became the more popular choice throughout the country.
Gwen Jones, a long-time Preservation Artisans Guild member started making floorcloths in 2004 after having received one as a gift and being utterly charmed by combination of art and function. Over the course of her career as a floorcloth maker Gwen has produced over 1000 floorcloths for clients in 19 countries. Gwen’s business partner, a historic preservationist and the President of PAG, Karla Pearlstein has used floorcloths in many of her restoration projects and has often recommended them to clients.
In 2019, Gwen and Karla teamed up to create Ariel Grace Design | Custom Floorcloth Makers, in order to provide beautifully crafted, custom-designed canvas rugs.
When asked about the charm and functionality of floorcloths in the home, Gwen says,
“The beauty of floorcloths is that they are a functional product, providing many of the advantages of other forms of area rugs (floor protection, decorative value, softness underfoot) while being hypoallergenic and substantially easier to clean. Each one is custom made and the design, palette, size, and shape can perfectly accommodate the room they are in.”
“We are delighted to produce a product that marries beauty, craft, and function.”Gwen Jones – Ariel Grace Design
The process of creating a floorcloth for a client’s home or office begins with a consultation with the client and a look at images of the space, or an in-person visit if possible. This allows Ariel Grace Design to advise the client on design, palette, and size based on the other appointments in the room as well as the amount of floor coverage desired.
Ariel Grace Design also offers a growing portfolio of exclusive floorcloth patterns and new designs can also be developed from a client’s favorite pattern or from the rich trove of stencil patterns available via third parties.
While Ariel Grace Design is adept at suggesting a palette based on a room and it’s appointments, a client is welcome to specify specific paint colors for use in each element of the floorcloth pattern. Motif layout will also be informed by the room itself and the size of the floorcloth.
Because it is one thing to imagine how a set of colors will look together when applied to design and entirely another to actually see how they work in a space, Ariel Grace Design will send each client a sample proof for a nominal fee (including shipping). This ensures that if changes in color palette, motif size, or similar are needed, they can be determined and addressed prior to production.
Once a client has approved the design, the completed floorcloth takes approximately 4-6 weeks to be ready to ship to the client. This is a truly hand-made product, bespoke at nearly every level of production, and like all good things, takes time.
Ariel Grace Design is open by appointment only.
710 NW 17th Ave. Portland, OR 97209