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Doug Johnston Rope Works

One-off woven wares formed from an ancient coiling technique

by Karen Day in Design on 21 February 2012

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Once used for model-making, Doug Johnston's nimble fingers have found a new medium in recent years. The trained architect creates vessels, sculptures and wearable masks by stitching together sewing thread and braided cotton cord on his industrial-strength, vintage Singer zig-zag sewing machine, which he then hand forms into the uniquely curious shapes.

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Born in Texas, raised in Tulsa, OK and now based in Brooklyn, Johnston employs an ancient crafting technique traditionally used for making ceramic coiled pots. While his method may reflect the past, he visualizes his process as a kind of 3D prototyping technique. Johnston explains on his site, "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."

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Meticulously executed but entirely unrestrained in form, the rope works reflect the creative pragmatism of Johnston's architectural mind. Starting today, a small selection of his vases, cones and baskets are selling online from Partners & Spade for $40-345. A wider selection can also be found in his online shop.

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