The elusive naming process

"So I made myself sit down and get to the business of discovering what this show needed to be named. To this end, I do what I call "word-sifting." I make long lists of words and phrases that I love, working through a vintage thesaurus to find obscure synonyms and a dictionary (bound not electronic) to research word origins."
Michelle, Lost Coast Post

Names. Name-dropping.
Titles. Naming conventions.
Identification. Description.
Identity. Connotation. 

Every single stuffed animal in this house has a name. There's Mr. Quack, Oso Bear {technically that's bear bear}... and a hundred more. And my kids know every single name and the story behind the name. This should be no surprise. When they were little I invented stories for them at bedtime and the characters always had interesting albeit silly names. Sometimes I leveraged real movie plots and altered them and other times I pulled plots out of thin air.


Anyhow, I'm always fiddling around with words. Page names, folder names, workshop names, prompt names, challenge names, article names, blog post names, technique names, project names. Art journal page names. 

There's an index card in my purse that I use to track words, phrases, titles, identifiers, symbols & names? I keep a note in Evernote with quotations and names and phrases. 

When I create a name for a workshop, I also play with the name in a tangible form.

Naming a painting, project, journal or a workshop... gives me a way to refer to the tangible thing but sometimes it actually helps me understand what I am creating in the first place. It clarifies and potentially defines as well.

I don't want the name to be just a typed word on a screen or in a graphic. This is a nod to the Montessori teaching ideas....  where  the kids manipulate objects, like they play with sandpaper letters when they are learning to read. Anyhow... I paint the name with a brush or draw the name with gouache, hand-letter the name, make pretend labels with the name, and use my Moleskine to do brainstorms and mind-maps about what I want the name to communicate or embody. 

There's also a built-in, somewhat automatic, feedback  loop. The idea drives the name which drives the idea, etc. For example, naming a recent gouache journal the Chance journal reminded me not to take it too seriously and to focus on random intersections of paint.

Name your projects or travels or adventures or paintings what you want them to be... it helps you focus your direction of travel, make it happen!