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Art Underfoot

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“The first time I saw a painted floorcloth, I thought, what the heck is that?” recalls Corinne Hudson. It was the early ’90s, and she was in Manhattan, checking out the then-trendy home store MacKenzie-Childs. “It was set up almost like a museum, and everything knocked me out, it was so beautiful,” she remembers. But that floorcloth made a particular impact. “I realized it was heavy canvas. And I said, ‘This is fabulous. I’m doing this.’ ”

Hudson had no art training, “just classes here and there,” but undeterred, set out to buy supplies. “I didn’t know how heavy the canvas should be. It needed to be durable, but not too thick, because I wanted people to think the floor was painted. It was hit or miss in the beginning,” she says. At the time, she and her husband were living in Ossining, in a house barely big enough for them and their two sons. “It was crazy; I had to take over a whole room to paint the cloths, put things up against the wall. But I was having so much fun, I didn’t care.”

Hudson’s husband, Russell, a one-time advertising art director, had switched gears to become a cabinetmaker. “Our business was all-encompassing, taking over our tiny Cape Cod house — and then my mom moved in,” Hudson says. A bigger house was in order, so the family moved to a multilevel contemporary in Carmel “with reservoirs on both sides,” Hudson says. “It’s only 40 minutes north of Ossining, but it’s like turning the clock back. We’re very happy here. It accommodates all the things we need.” Among those things are room to run the cabinetmaking enterprise, which both sons have joined. (“It’s a real old-fashioned family business,” Hudson says.) And, of course, space for her own creative endeavor. Two years ago, having mastered the art of painted cloths, she launched Floorscapes, and began selling them.

Hudson’s patterns are often inspired by nature.
Clockwise, from right: India, Beanpod, Lightening, Three Bears, and Sea Grass

India
Sea Grass Bean Pod
Three Bears Lightening

Many of Hudson’s patterns are inspired by nature, sometimes as interpreted by American Indians. “Nature is really important to me. I go to the natural world to be centered… The healing arts are important to me, too,” says Hudson, who has been an “energy worker” for the past 17 years, practicing alongside therapists, chiropractors, and sometimes traditional doctors. “I’m interested in how energy influences and heals us,” she says. “I want to create rugs that alter the feeling of a room, to be soothing, and shift the energy, which is what art does.”

Hudson paints the floorcloths on washed, shrunken canvas using artists’ acrylics, then seals them with water-based polyurethane, so the surface feels almost like leather. “People are afraid to walk on them, but they’re incredibly durable,” she says. “You can just mop them with soap and water.”

As for their dimensions: “I’d love to make a huge one, but they can only be as big as the two tables I have to work on. That’s about six-by-eight feet. It takes up a nice chunk of a room.”

When they’re installed, the canvas floorcloths can create the illusion that the design is painted directly on the floor, Hudson says. But despite their light weight, they’re durable and easy to care for.

Prices start at $20 a square-foot; custom orders are accepted and take from six to eight weeks to complete. For more information, check www.hudsonfloorscapes.com.

 

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