Designer Nell Johnson Interview

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Fashion Institute of Technology student, Nell Johnson, in NYC has been making working with wire since she was a child. Johnson was an only child, so making her own entertainment was of the norm to her. Rather than being “unproductive” and “playing with [her] stuffed animals,” she learned to work with wire and has been making jewelry ever since.

“I guess you could say I got into jewelry making to alleviate boredom!”

Nell Johnson dreams of opening her “own little shop” and plans to do so “in the future.” To be specific, Nell wants to have her own “small clothing and accessories business” however, she doesn’t know how to produce clothes just yet. So in the mean time, she’s started a website “with what I can do until I have the knowledge to expand.”

Her favorite types of jewelry to make are necklaces. When asked how long it takes to create a piece of jewelry from conception to creation, Nell had this to say: “Designing it could take two hours or five minutes, it’s completely relative to the piece I’m working on. When I already have it designed and I just have to follow my measurements then it really doesn’t take long.”

I am not someone who can just take being bored. Nell’s inspiration usually comes from picking a theme and then designing around that idea. But it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes in the middle of the night, Nell will wake up to a good idea and have to write it down. At other times, she’ll start “making one thing and [she’ll] end up with something totally different.” Nell Johnson even gets ideas when she’s in class at F.I.T. Whether or not she’s concentrating in class, she gets ideas from “everywhere and at anytime.” “If I am not doing something productive I go a bit stir crazy, so doodling designs during a lecture is something I do frequently.”

Of course, we had to play some word association and poke around the whimsical mind of Nell Johnson! As a side note Nell had to say, “I can explain all of these but I have to say out of context they sound really weird.”

Parsnip: Pie
Buzz: Jig-saw
Humdinger: plastic
Meatballs: spaghetti
Nitwit: Rudolph
Woody: shade
Music: dad
Meow: Kitty
Superfluous: bloated

Check out Nell Johnson’s designs at http://whatthenell.com!

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Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (Basically, she's a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.