Starting from a small central coil, Doug Johnston and his wife, Tomoe Matsuoka, steadily work their way out. When it gets big enough, the coil is fixed into place with two large stitches. Then, the process continues. Around and around and around.
As the rope winds its way up, the coils start to take on the qualities of liquid. Streams converge, confluent pools form. The yielding nature of the cotton fibre is given form by the banks of its stitching. These soft forms have a coming-apart-at-the-seams-ness that holds your interest — and all poetry aside, they’re actually rather sturdy: a little flexibility is a good thing.
Made by hand on big old sewing machines, the work is gradual, methodical, one piece at a time. These useful objects form part of a larger artistic practice for Doug Johnston, a way of thinking about a human’s role in making. If so much of our world is made of injection-moulded plastic, what does it mean to produce objects with one of the oldest production techniques in the world? Sometimes Johnston creates coiled baskets that are large enough to hide in.
Beyond being practical objects, Doug Johnston encourages us to think about the way that our physical world is made. To be thoughtful, and to see the process as part of the point. And on he goes, coiling his rope around and around.
We’re proud to stock a selection of Doug Johnston both in our shop online and in our Amsterdam store.