* Floor cloths were elevated in art-world status at New York's recent International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

In fact, since the concept of creative floor coverings emerged in 18th-century England, they have been gaining prestige as a highly prized art form. They originated as an alternative to retouching painted floors and were relegated to formal, strictly functional use.

Early samples show various treatments such as marbleized finishes and reproductions of Oriental rug designs.

Among the many boldly creative floor cloth designs on display at the New York show were those by artists Joyce Barker-Schwartz and S. Carter Keffury.

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