Jennifer Frantz believes art should be seen as well as used. It should be visually apparent and appealing every day. She believes that art documents our past, specifically during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
During a trip to Maine while visiting her sister, Frantz discovered original Rufus Porter murals and was awestruck by their beauty as well as Porter’s technique. Her love of historic art like Porter's, particularly folk art that is functional by design, led to the creation of Americana Floorcloths.
A Perrysburg resident for eleven years, Frantz works out of her home studio that contains many large tables that support the large rolls of canvas. Using only traditional methods, she makes her floorcloths from the heaviest canvas available in up to 144-inch widths. The corners are mitered with the edge folded under and cemented instead of sewn due to the weight of the canvas.
Designs are free-form painted using the same techniques as Rufus Porter’s murals. Tones reflect colors of two centuries ago. An expert colorist, Frantz carefully chooses shades of muted paints and stains to make her floorcloths one of-a-kind masterpieces with an aged beauty of their own.
A poly-acrylic finish is applied many, many times and finished with a “trade secret” wax that create a water-proof, durable finish. As a result, these rugs are virtually indestructible. The end result is a beautiful, one of a kind piece, a family heirloom that can be handed down from generation to generation.
Artists appearing in the 20201 Directory of Traditional American Crafts have been selected, and the best of their handiwork has been photographed at Cedar Grove, an 18th Century house museum operated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Look for the Directory in our August 2021 issue.
1,841 days until America's Sestercentennial
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