Ella Johnson’s collection is based around the theme ‘The Space In-between’ focusing on the space between moments of lucid thought allowing the mind to behave laterally. Ella’s work is stimulating kaleidoscopic collage. She initiated the project with collages of images from her everyday life but as though sitting back and watching her thoughts, disconnecting from them and allowing your brain to play as on auto-pilot and the capturing snap-shot stills before they evaporate into the stream of consciousness. This was the basis of her sketchbook work and why she chose to focus so much of her work on collage.
The images, at first, feel disconnected and seemingly random but the general mood and theme underlying the project is constant and hence appears aesthetically connected once looked at as a whole. Having ADHD, Ella was keen to explore how, although classified as a disorder, ADHD need not necessarily be a negative thing. The mind can appear chaotic and scattered yet simultaneously exciting - endlessly making new connections that come and go so fleetingly, they can be hard to grasp. Through her project, Ella depicts what her brain looks like when inspired by the world around her in a way that others might understand.
By thoughts, for Ella, this means images, faces, colours, textures, moods, emotions as well as memories of events. Combining different techniques and media applications also appear naturally for her - from continuous line drawings, to oil pastels, to ink based mark-making. She also combines abstract and more photographic elements into her collages.
In execution for her prints, Ella used combined screen printing (using an exposed screen), heat pressing (using heat press paper cut outs and heat press ink), as well as sublimation printing. Screen printing is a large part of Ella’s work and so she wanted to expose her screen rather than just using stencils. In her exposed screen she included both drawings and photographic images.
She also finds sublimation printing very exciting due to her fine art background - she has always loved painting and drawing and so finds it exciting to be able to transfer her sketchbook work directly onto the fabric. Ella used a combination of cotton, recycled polyester and more stretchy jersey fabric for her printed textiles.
For her knitted outcomes, Ella adopted the colours and shapes from her sketchbook work as a basis for her knitted designs. She was adamant that both the knitted and printed outcomes have the same mood and mesh together, through consistent use of colour and by adopting a patchwork style knit to replicate the collage style within her prints.