Doug Johnston


Thank you for visiting my shop! In early 2010 I started making coiled rope baskets that exposed the natural cotton rope and used colored thread as both structure and decoration. My interest in the coiling process grew out of previous studies in knitting and free-form 3d weaving. I started selling them online in October of 2011 and the pieces have since been featured in numerous online and print publications worldwide, and can be found in finer galleries and boutiques in many countries. I have continued to explore many variations on the process, creating quite a variety of functional and sculptural objects. You can see an overview of many of these pieces on my website by clicking here.

All the work is lovingly sewn and hand-formed one at a time in my brooklyn studio. The rope works are made from sewing thread and braided 100% cotton or nylon cord, stitched on my vintage industrial zig-zag sewing machines. The fabrication technique was learned from the crafting community and adapted for my sculptural and formal explorations. The technique is itself based on the ancient method of making ceramic coiled pots as well as coiled basketry. I am interested in ways of transforming a linear material into three-dimensional objects, which I have also studied in other materials such as yarn or plastic tubing. I also see the process as a form of analog 3D printing/prototyping performed by a sewing machine and with much less precision. In this way the "3D file" is in my head as I begin each piece and its formation happens by making certain adjustments to the work while sewing. No forms, patterns or molds are used and the process has its own limitations, largely determined by the sewing machine, so each piece takes on deformations and glitches that give it unique personality.

The pieces explore the spatial possibilities of the coiling method and are influenced by masonry construction, folk basketry, and forms found in nature and everyday objects. Many shapes and functions have been explored including bags, baskets, trays, sculptural vessels, eating, lighting, masks and wearable objects. Most pieces are determined by a set of parameters that help to define their overall shape or composition but allow for a certain amount of variation from one to the other. With the obvious exception of the bags, most of the pieces are not produced with a specific function in mind yet the shapes may reference common utilitarian items or hint at possibles uses. My interest lies in the relationships between form/space, material, process, surface and structure, as well as the unique events and characteristics that arise from the contrasts of hand work vs machine work, planning vs improvisation, familiarity vs strangeness, utility vs. uselesness, etc.

Elle Decor and Cotton produced this video about our studio:

Unless otherwise listed as "currently in stock" in the item description, each piece is available as made-to-order as noted in the description. Please allow 3 weeks from the time you place the order to time of shipping preparation for made-to-order pieces. For these items please note that photos are representative of the general product in size, shape, and configuration. Because each piece is handcrafted, the actual item you receive will have its own unique marks, stitching, shape and details that might vary from the representative photos.

I will be adding new pieces somewhat regularly and you can subscribe to the shop feed to stay updated. If you see a one-of-a-kind piece that you would like to purchase but it is sold out, you can contact me and I might be able make remake it for you. Re-made pieces are not exact copies but will be similar in size, shape, and color.

The rope is raw cotton, unwashed, so the products will soften with use and washing though they will still hold their shape. The rope works are washable but some shrinkage and color bleeding from the thread may occur. Hand/spot cleaning with a mild detergent is the best and safest option. Be sure to test on an inconspicuous area first! You are responsible for the care of the pieces you purchase and I can't be held liable if damages occur from improper care.

custom pieces, commissions and collaborations

We often work on special orders, custom pieces, and commissioned works. Please contact at to discuss how our work may be a part of your project. Custom work and comissions will be considered based on current workload and compatibility.


Payment is made through PayPal or Stripe. Most major credit cards are accepted and you do not need a paypal account to process your order. Shipping costs and any applicable sales tax are added at time of checkout. If you do not want to use Paypal or Stripe you can contact me to make other arrangements. New York State residents pay sales tax.

shipping and shop policy:

For made-to-order pieces please allow 3 weeks to time of shipping preparation.
For "currently in stock" and one-of-a-kind pieces please allow 3 days to time of shipping preparation.
Please allow 5-10 business days for actual shipping time.
Shipping is typically by USPS Priority mail. If you have a preference for another service please contact me with 24 hours of placing your order and include your order number in the subject line of the email.

International orders are accepted - add the item to your cart and select your country to see the shipping charges for your order. By purchasing internationally from our website you are importing goods into your country and may be required to pay the import taxes imposed by your country (Duties), which typically must be paid by the person receiving the package. We strongly recommend that you check your country's customs and import policies before placing an international order from us in order to avoid any surprise import fees imposed by your country - you can use this online calculator to estimate any additional import fees: . We have no way of paying these fees and they are the responsibility of the person purchasing/importing the products.

If you live locally or are going to be in the NYC area send me an email and we can arrange for local pickup. You can either email me prior to your purchase and I'll send you a discount code to waive the shipping fees, or you can write in the special instructions section at check out that you would like to pick it up and I will refund the S&H fees.

PLEASE NOTE: Doug Johnston Studio is not responsible for any delayed, lost, stolen, or damaged packages. Refunds are not issued for these reasons.

Because most of our pieces are made to order please be sure to read the measurements and descriptions carefully for your order. The pieces will vary somewhat in dimension and shape but we do our best to replace the appearance in the images presented. If you want to exchange a piece you ordered because you decided you would rather have a larger piece/different color/just don't like it/etc. we will only accept unused pieces in their original packaging with the hang tag. We will not pay for return shipping and we will charge a 15% restocking fee.

Refunds are determined on a case-by-case basis, but generally not issued unless there is a clear mistake on our part. Please contact us within 5 days of receiving your order to discuss a refund. We do our best to quality-check each piece before shipping, but in the unlikely event that you recieve a order with quality issues please contact us. Again, refunds are not issued unless there is a clear mistake on our part.


Currently we are not seeking additional wholesale accounts.

日本での新規お取引については、マツオカ までお問い合わせ下さい。


Most photos in the shop were expertly taken and processed by Michael Popp. If you use, blog, or publish any of the photos please kindly credit the photos with his name and a link to his website.


more about me
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internships / employment:

We hire artists, designers, and craftspeople as independent contractors/freelance workers to help produce our coiled and stitched baskets and bags. If you are interested in working with us we ask for a minimum of 9 months availability including a training period. Experience with industrial sewing machines and a material-based art or design background is preferred, and must be an american citizen or permanent resident. Please send a résumé and work samples to

We do not offer internship opportunities as we do not believe people should work for free. Please see this handy flowchart designed by Jessica Hische.