The ancient art of basket-weaving has it's origins in most tribal and indigenous groups around the world and continues to inspire contemporary artists and designers today.
Doug Johnston is arguably leading the way in terms of a modern interpretation of the craft with his sculptural vessels, installations and baskets.
Based in New York, Doug's work uses natural cotton rope which he then coils in a spiral design using an industrial sewing machine to stitch the coils together. The only colour or 'decoration' is the zig-zag thread used to stitch the vessels together.
Despite using a limited colour palette and just one main raw material (cotton rope) - Doug achieves really stunning results that are both beautiful in their simplicity and utterly distinctive.
A background in architecture, studio arts and 3D printing has influenced his designs resulting in usable items that have such a strong sculptural quality to them. A keen spatial awareness is an obvious strength when we see both the more decorative baskets, and the quite breathtaking light sculptures (below).
We adore the ethereal quality that the light has as it appears filtered through the gentle curves and coils that he has achieved with these light sculptures.
“We don’t use forms or moulds, and each shape depends on things like how you hold the basket relative to the machine, where you press on the rope, and the position of your hand,” he says.
Doug collaborates with other creatives, including his wife Tomoe Matsuoka who also works out of their Brooklyn studio, and his pieces are made to order, with limited edition items and custom options available. His work is also widely exhibited, most recently at the NYCxDESIGN week (New York's official city-wide celebration of design).
That famous English designer William Morris once said "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" and these sculptural rope vessels by Doug Johnston are stunning examples of this - with a simplicity of form that is really compelling!
If you want to take a closer look at his work - it is available at key retailers in the U.S, at the Conran Shop in the UK, and Safari Living here in Melbourne. For more details on his work check out global Art sourcing site Artsy, or his own site here.