doug johnston bags

This weekend while I was organizing my closet, I realized that I only have two bags in my life: an animal print mini bag and a Reading Frenzy canvas tote. Because I splurged majorly on the first one, I wear it just about everywhere. But I’m starting to wear the print off of it, so I think I should retire it from daily use for a while. I’m fine taking my canvas tote most other places, but every now and then I wish I had an in-between daily bag that could pass as something a little nicer. While going through adorable toddler photos on Rena Tom’s Flickr page this weekend, I think I found my solution: handmade rope bags by Doug Johnston.

These beautiful totes are made from 200 feet of 100% cotton sash cord and are both durable and chic. I love the classic color choices (the red bottom is so cute) and think this would be perfect for wearing around town to run errands and then transitioning to a casual night out. The rope will get softer and more pliable with age, so it seems this bag will only get better over time. If you’re looking for a new handmade bag, click here to check out (and shop) Doug’s collection online. He always makes a fantastic series of baskets, trivets and buckets, too. xo, grace

More images of Doug’s work continue after the jump . . .

  1. Cecilia says:

    Where can I get the canvas bag??? It is unique. I love it.

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      the rope bag above? just follow the links in the post :)


  2. Christina says:

    I love the color blocking in these. Simple but pretty. :)

    Just made some Brown Butter Waffles. Come check them out!


  3. The pencil holder is so cute!

  4. Harper says:

    These are fantastic! Love the baskets.

  5. Amy Carter says:

    I love this bags….sometimes it’s the simple things that are the best :)

  6. angie says:

    I was so happy to see you love his work too! I love *all* of Doug Johnston’s pieces. Simple, beautiful and useful. *a

  7. Ellen says:

    interesting….smiles….thank you for sharing them…

  8. Nicole says:

    I looooooove these! They are making little hearts and rainbows and sparkly confetti shoot out of my eyes. (That’s a good thing.)

  9. Casey says:

    Awesome work, Doug Johnston. I am in love with you and your sweet totes. Can I use your drill press?

  10. nina says:

    amazing amazing, but I think that bag would be pretty heavy, no?

  11. Kathryn says:

    I just received my bag from Doug last week and LOVE it. So stylish and comfortable. Two ways to hold it. Hands down my favorite bag!

  12. alyssa says:

    I really love these pieces. I have never heard of this artist/designer before, but I have used this technique of coiling cotton cording with colored thread to make large baskets for my home. My baskets aren’t as sculptural as most of Doug Johnston’s creations, of course :). It is a simple, quick, and quite inexpensive DIY project for people who can’t afford to buy these beauties.

  13. =mj= says:

    I think these just inspired my crochet work. Fantastic, they are.


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.