For fans of period linoleum, handmade floorcloths can be a beautiful, allusive option. Floorcloths are made of heavy canvas, made stiff with layers of paint. Like linoleum, they lay flat, wipe up easy and are durable. Unlike most linoleum installations, they are area treatments, rather than wall to wall. Gracewood Design of Portland Oregon produced this striking, retro design from a scrap of linoleum found in a dumbwaiter. Putting on their oriental rug designer mindset, and using a total of twelve stencils, they transposed the original design to repeat in variations through the floorcloth. You may notice that the flower pattern is random, but where flowers cross other elements of the design, those intervals need to be blank, requiring that the randomizing of the flowers must be carefully planned. Their ambitious intent was not to repeat the sample in four quadrants in the floorcloth, but to have the variations generate throughout the piece. To accomplish that, the stencils were flipped over for two placements and that flipped the flowers, but also flipped sides for the vertical orange and black lines. Since they no longer lined up, they had to be taped out and then added last using yet another set of custom stencils. Yikes! Take some time with the exemplar sample to figure the formula for populating this design throughout the floorcloth. Ingenious! (BONUS LINOLEUM FACT: The root word of “linoleum” is linseed, as in linseed oil, which is the base material for true period linoleum – – not petroleum based.)
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