Donald Johnston, Jr.

Donald Johnston, Jr., Aleut

Donald was born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1994 and is an enrolled member of his People’s Alaska Native Corporation. He’s Aleut, the great seafaring people who for thousands of years made the Aleutian Archipelago Region of Southwest Alaska their homelands.  

Donald’s a second generation baleen basket weaver and ivory carver. His father is Don Johnston, considered the premier baleen basket of this generation. Through tens of thousands of hours assisting his father, Donald has become thoroughly imbued with the understanding that each and every aspect of the baleen and walrus ivory making process requires striving for absolute perfection. That way, if perfection is not quite achieved, the basket will be, at minimum, exquisite.  

Donald has diligently taken these lessons to heart. Strength, dexterity and focus are clearly evident in his uniform, close patterning. His preparation and weaving of the baleen, along with his meticulously clean carving of the ivory demonstrates that he is quite advanced for someone early into their career as baleen basket weaver.  

After years of working with his father, Donald began weaving his own baskets and carving the ivory finials in 2019. He has chosen to number each of the baskets he makes; each is thus signed and numbered.