Gracewood Design Honored by National Magazine

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For 3rd year, the floorcloth maker is included in the exclusive Directory of Traditional American Craft.

Ken Forcier and Gwen Jones of Gracewood Design, located in Portland, Oregon, rank as one of the top traditional artisans in America, according to a panel of experts convened by Early American Life magazine.

The experts---curators from such prestigious institutions as the Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, American Folk Art Museum, Shelburne Museum, Mount Vernon, Historic Hudson Valley, Heritage Center of Lancaster County, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Old Sturbridge Village, Shaker Museum and Library and Strawbery Banke Museum as well as antiques dealers, independent scholars, and professional instructors---selected the top craftspeople working with traditional tools and techniques for the magazine's 23nd annual Directory of Traditional American Crafts. Gracewood Design's handcrafted floorcloths show a mastery of the art form, heritage techniques, and workmanship, according to the judges.

The Directory of Traditional American Crafts is a special listing that appears in the August 2008 issue of Early American Life, a national magazine focusing on architecture, decorative arts, period style, and social history from colonial times through the mid-19th Century. The Directory has been used for the past two decades by curators at living history museums, owners of traditional homes, and motion picture producers for finding artisans to make period-appropriate furnishings and accessories for displays, collections, and use.

"The judges look for authentic design and workmanship, whether the piece is a faithful reproduction or the artisan's interpretation of period style," said Tess Rosch, publisher of Early American Life. "Scholarship, as well as use of period tools and techniques, is particularly valued in this competition."

One goal of the Directory is to help preserve traditional handcrafts, part of our culture that is rapidly being lost in the digital age. Many of these skills were passed down from master to apprentice for hundreds of years, but now few new people choose to learn and master them. "If our traditional arts are lost, we have forgotten a part of who we are as Americans," Rosch said.

The August issue of Early American Life, on newsstands June 24, lists all artisans selected for the Directory as well as their addresses and telephone numbers for those wanting to own their work. The Directory layout features lush color photos of many of these artworks, photographed at Historic Deerfield.

"The Directory is a source for collectors and historic museums eager to own fine, handcrafted, period-accurate objects and also a means of supporting those who perpetuate the art forms that are such an important part of our nation's heritage," Rosch said. To learn more about Early American Life, for subscription information or to purchase a copy, visit http://www.Earlyamericanlife.com.

Early American Life is a bimonthly magazine with a circulation of 90,000. The magazine was founded in 1970 and is owned by Firelands Media Group LLC, Shaker Heights, Ohio. Editors can request a copy of the August 2008 issue with the 2008 Directory of Traditional American Crafts by calling 440-543-8566.

Gracewood Design's floorcloths are handmade, painted canvas rugs that provide a beautiful, durable and practical alternative to area rugs. The company sells its products worldwide through its website, http://www.gracewooddesign.com.

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