Floorcloths

Nancy Malick of Winchester paints floorcloths that are durable enough to be used as rugs, but are decorative enough to hang as wall art. Malick's floorcloths will be at the Amuse Art and Craft Fair at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley this weekend.

WINCHESTER — Jewelry, colorful floorcloths and accessories made out of recycled bicycle parts are some of the handcrafted items for sale during the Amuse Art and Craft Fair at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley this weekend.

More than 45 jury-selected artists will show and sell their works from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Admission is free to the art fair.

This is the fourth year for the fair, which will showcase glass, furniture, pillows, pottery, paintings, prints, textiles, baskets, hand-crafted candles and soaps. Some of the artists will also demonstrate their talents. Nancy Malick of Winchester is bringing her painted floorcloths. Malick, who began painting about 35 years ago, discovered the art of floor cloths in the 1990s.

“While working for NBC in Hagerstown, [Md.], I did a commercial for a company and asked a lady I knew to allow me to use her home for the commercial. She had a huge floorcloth under her dining room table,” Malick said in an email.

Turns out someone in downtown Winchester had made the floorcloth, so Malick asked them to show her how it was done.

“I decided that, one day, I would do that,” said Malick, who is now retired and has now has time for her art.

Malick’s floorcloths are durable enough to be used as a rug, but some people use them as wall art. She also makes table runners, placemats, stair treads and floor runners.

Malick starts her floorcloth creations by shrinking the canvas and adding a sealant to both sides to keep out the moisture. After mapping out her design, she paints the floor cloths with acrylics and water-based polyurethane paints.

“I see designs everywhere and design as I go using stencils, stamps, or by free-hand drawing,” said Malick.

The most expensive rug she has designed was based on a pattern found on a friend’s ring.

“It had an oval in the center surrounded by a diamond encircled by a large square with multiple boarders,” she said. “I used an array of stencils to design this piece.”

Malick’s floorclothes are meant to be kept inside. She hopes one day to make floor cloths that can be used outdoors but the paints are expensive so she’ll need a financial commitment from a buyer before moving forward with that project.

Always learning, Malick said she would next try her hand at making Colonial and Victorian floorcloths based on designs from the 1700s.

“My ancestors were the Malicks and came to America from German in 1735,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in all areas of their history.”

The Amuse Art and Craft Fair is organized by Kim Johnston with Winchester Art Market, Kerry Stavely with Tin Top Art & Handmade and Jaimianne Amicucci with the Creative Crafts Council. The MSV is the host sponsor.

Most of the artists and crafters are from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., according to Stavely.

In addition to browsing the displays, attendees may also enjoy a free rock-painting activity at the ShenArts booth and take their pictures in front of a Winchester-themed photo backdrop designed by Valley graphic designer Amie Cave.

The first 25 attendees of the 2019 Amuse Art and Craft Fair will receive a free tote bag and all attendees may enter a daily raffle to wine a tote bag filled with goodies from various Amuse vendors and four free admission tickets to the MSV Gardens at Night concert series.

Food, beer, and wine will be available for purchase. Food selections include barbecue from Jordan Springs Market, the Roaming Bistro food truck (Saturday only), artisanal pizza 3FiresOven (Sunday only), seafood from the Skrimp Shack (Sunday only), and ice cream from Red Fox Creamery.

A regional cultural center, the MSV is located at 901 Amherst St. in Winchester.

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