About The Artist
The Henry Gould Farm sits at the base of Vermont’s picturesque Mount Ascutney as it has since the early 19th century. In the carriage house wing of the Gould farmhouse is Canvasworks Studio, Lisa Curry Mair’s primary workspace. Mair is a throwback of those earlier times. Her painted canvas floorcloths are made as they would have been hundreds of years ago- one painstakingly slow step at a time. She designs each piece, lays it out on paper then transposes it to a prepared canvas “blank” floorcloth before painting it. She uses little more than paints, brushes and a sewing machine to create each work of floor art. And painting isn’t her only old-way-of-doing-things activity each day. The farm’s old dairy barn is home to Mair’s four horses which she and her daughter tend to and ride daily. In the winter the woodstove needs stoking, and walkways need shoveling; in the summer the flower gardens around the pond in the backyard need attention too. At times Mair has been known not to leave the property for a week at a time. “Why would I?” she says. “Everything I need is right here.”
Even though Mair tends to stay close to home her work does not. Since 1992 and the beginning of Canvasworks, she has created over eight hundred floorcloths which have made their ways all over North America. They can be found in private homes and historic museums, in cottages and ski homes, and in decorator’s showhouses. She also works diligently to promote floorcloth-making as a craft. Her book, Floorcloth Magic (Storey Books, 2001) teaches readers how to make their own and parts of her website and blog encourage everyone to try their hand at painting on large canvas. “If people can slow down, sit still and put a little piece of themselves into something which can last a lifetime, they will experience the satisfaction of making and leaving their mark. In these times of hurried, scattered days filled with endless lists and mindless chores, a little bit of that satisfaction can go a very long way.”
Mair says she feels “privileged” to live in such a great house, in such a fantastic community. Vermont takes great pride in its craftpeople, and its rural character. It’s no wonder so many artists come to live in such an encouraging, creative environment. The studio is open by appointment. Mair explains to visitors the steps involved in floorcloth making, shows parts of the old farmhouse and shares with them some of the Henry Gould Farm stories. She hopes they drive away from Canvasworks feeling as if they took a step back in time, slowly.