A Rose by Any Other Name

Originally posted on jillianodwyer.blogspot.com on August 11, 2012

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,

Retain that dear perfection which he owes

Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,

And for that name which is no part of thee

Take all myself.

-Juliet, From Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

 What’s in a name?  Or really, what’s in a title?  That is the question I’ve been asking myself lately.

 I tend to “title,” and I use that word loosely here, my pieces descriptively.  This piece is part of the series inspired by [insert inspiration here], is a [bowl, platter, ?] and is green or some other color.

 Does this tell you, my fans, anything about the piece?  Sure, it gives you a factual description.  What you see is what you get kind of thing.

 Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of being introduced to the work of Shannan and Jacqueline from Ellorias Boutique.  They are the creators of wonderful jewelry as you can see from the necklace below.

Photo courtesy of and copyrighted by Ellorias Boutique

 Shannan and Jacqueline, like many artists, title their work.  This necklace, for example, is the Sapphira Necklace.  The thing that stuck me most when I first encountered this piece, other than how beautiful it is, was the title.  Why the Sapphira Necklace?  I searched the description for a clue to learn that the this necklace features beads handcrafted to reflect botanical DNA structures … yet no mention of Sapphira.

 Exploring the rest of their work online, I believe that Shannan and Jacqueline have series of pieces similar to me.  They give those series titles, but the titles they choose are typically based on a female name and are wrapped in mystery.  At least they are to me.  I have absolutely no idea why or how the name Sapphira is linked to this particular design series.  I even looked up Sapphira on Wikipedia I was so intrigued with little to aid my deduction efforts.

 How different an approach to naming than I use.  When I title a series it is with a fairly straightforward name like “Stained Glass Inspired” or “Mad Hatter Inspired” or simply “Tree.”

 Descriptive and informative, yet nothing to whet the imagination of my customers.  No mystery.  My inspiration is front and center.

 Nothing to allow you, interacting with my work, to pause and maybe wonder … to apply your own thoughts and interpretations.

 I’m tempted to tell myself that I should follow Juliet’s advice that no thing or person is improved or made better by a name.

 Yet I find that I much prefer the approach of Ellorias Boutique.  They have left me to wonder and fill in the blanks for myself with their title.  Is it just a name they like?  Does the story of Sapphira I found on Wikipedia somehow tie in?  I don’t know.

 I’ve seen customers interact with my work at art shows where there is no description or title box handy … just space, glorious space to apply their own experiences and perceptions to the piece.

 Sorry Juliet, but I think I need to re-do my titles.

 Ellorias Boutique is just one of many vendors participating in September’s CRAFTfest.  Be sure to check out their stall!

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