May 23, 2012

What's In A Name?

I've had a lot going on lately.  That may be reflected in how little I've been blogging, and also in the chaotic-crazy manifested in this art journal page I completed yesterday.

I hate it, and I love it.  

"What's in a name?  Everything & nothing, all at once."  So, true, right?  I'm not planning to get up on a soap box here, but let's see what comes pouring out of my brain and through the keyboard, and perhaps edit back from there...

Names are simple identifiers.  I love that when Jillian was a toddler she started calling us Mama Lisa and Daddy Mike to distinguish us from all the other parents at the park.  She wasn't calling for the attention of some generic "mom", she wanted HER mom to respond.  Brilliant, I say!  (And, a cute aside:  she didn't want us to use the MIKE-ro-wave for any of her food--we needed to use the JILLY-wave!)  Yes, names are simple identifiers that make for more efficient communication.

Then there is the old sticks-n-stones adage.  I think it is pretty much common knowledge that name-calling and verbal abuse has a very real and powerful effect on the psyche.  Not that common knowledge means there aren't buttheads out there that engage in it.  (Ironic, eh?  See what I did there? It is just so darn easy to resort to name calling!)

Oops.  I painted and stamped over my ampersand (&).
I'll keep searching the magazines and add one in when I find one.

And labels.  Don't get me started on labels.  Alright--a little bit on labels:  Person-First Language.

Person-first language is a concept I learned about, and is encouraged by my local autism support group, Santa Clarita Autism Asperger Network (SCAAN).  The idea is to put the person before their disability when speaking or writing about the person, because a person is not defined by their disability.  For example, "She HAS autism," not "She IS autistic." Autism is only ONE of the MANY traits that define her.

Ok, So back to this journal page.  I've been soul-searching lately, trying to get to know myself on a deeper level, and define some goals and a path for myself.  And feeling at once lost, because I don't have a label for myself, and feeling that that's FINE.  Except...wouldn't this be easier if I could just have a simple identifier??  

I carved this stamp when I was taking Julie's online class.  This assignment was to create a damask stamp.  I wanted to do something original, but struggled with free handing a symmetrical design.  Many times when I feel artistically befuddled I turn to ideas and projects I remember from elementary school.  Do you remember name art?  You fold a piece of paper in half and write your name along the creased edge, cut it out, and unfold.  I wrote my name, scanned it, inverted it, and placed the mirror image next to the original scan.

Then I sketched a design out of it, transferred it to a piece of Speedy Carve and made this stamp.  I love it!    It's so cool!  It's just my name, and yet it is so much more than that!

I went berserk with it on that art journal page.  And as I stamped, all this "stuff" about names, and labels, and the various "hats" we all wear, and the impossibility of defining oneself, and changing one's name to a symbol doesn't help any because people still need a verbal identifier for you so you never get away from just being "Prince."  

Names.  So simple.  So complicated.  Who am I?  Really, that is what I am trying to figure out.  In the meantime, just call me Lisa.

Thanks for visiting!


  1. absolutely know the love-hate feeling.
    i love your page, it shows a lot is going on, but you're giving it a place, a right to be. that's one of the sides about art journaling i really love!
    and your hand carved stamp: wow!
    have a happy weekend :)

  2. great page and I love how you made your stamp. I never did this technique in grade school but I want to try it out now. it's never too late, right?

    and I totally agree with your perspective on names.

    1. Haha! Nope! Never too late! In school we turned them into aliens or bugs! :)

  3. You have expressed yourself superbly with your post and journal spread!! I'm just beginning the stamp carving class and am only at Lesson Three. You did a beautiful job with the damask stamp-clever idea and inspiring!

    1. Thank you, Linda! Hope you are enjoying the class! :)

  4. Love this journal page.
    You displayed and utilized typography in a very harmonious way!
    What a pleasure to discover your blog, had a wonderful visit here today. :]

    1. Thank you April! You've put a big smile on my face!

  5. I love this page Lisa. The way you have done your quote on the page is lovely. The stamp you have made is awesome. Thank you for sharing the idea. I think iam going to try it too.
    Thank you for your comment on my blog.

  6. I love your page just LOVE it! I'm a sucker for magazine letters and I know what you mean about those elusive "&"s. I never tried the name art either but it is now on my list. Thanks so much for sharing the steps on how you created your beautiful stamp. Page aside I really, really enjoyed this post. Such a thought provoking post and so beautifully written. I bought a new brand of coffee today and hate I sat here reading your post and sipping my coffee each sip tasted a little better :)

    1. Wow, Amy*! I am so humbled by your comment! As one who relishes my morning coffee, I am so touched! ;) Thank you so much!

  7. Umm, that stamp is crazy awesome. Love how it inspired so much--the page, this post. Beautiful work.

  8. wow. That stamp is amazing Lisa. and your words, I just love what you shared about names. Wonderful post. thanks so much for inspiring and sharing!

  9. Hi Lisa- Oh darn, somebody already used "crazy awesome" to describe your stamp making technique b/c that is the exact phrase that went through my head when I saw your tutorial! Your post was such a meaningful read...names really hold immense meaning and yet they can be nothing more than identifiers/words. It truly is a complex issue. I hope whatever chaos is going on in your life gives way to a little serenity...

    Thanks for your recent visit to my blog...I do have a 12" printer and on rare occasions make use of the full size to print on my layouts:) I'm definitely not a digi expert so I don't know if I'd be any good with a brush tutorial! There are so many out has several too! If I do one, I will certainly post it on my blog! Cheers, Miae

  10. WHOA LISA!!! I came here to thank you for always having something interesting and positive and thoughtful to say on your comments in my blog and I just got like a WEEK'S worth of ideas to mull over!!!
    You are SO RIGHT!!!
    The "person first" language concept is fascinating. I'm going to google that and read more because it struck home. I recently made a page about my nephew who is living quite happily despite an autism diagnosis but scrapped it at the last minute because I felt it was focusing too much on the autism part and not enough on the I LOVE MY NEPHEW part.
    I didn't want my prejudices to be the focus (perhaps that's worth a page but not with his face on it- MINE) I've suspected my internal dialogue has been defining him as a one aspect person and didn't like it. Thank you SO MUCH for posting this- your tone is perfect!
    Now about that stamp- GENIUS!!!!! G.E.N.I.U.S! Sorry but I didn't notice the missing ampersand- was too busy drooling over the fabulous background on your project!! Pinning this post and hoping others will read it. :)

  11. Hi Lisa! I'm so happy to be visiting your blog today! I too can relate to the busyness at this time of a teacher, the months of May/June are always the most chaotic. It seems we always have to fit in forty million things, at the last minute--at school and home!:-)

    What a great journal page! I love the various layers and textures--very intriguing! And I so enjoyed reading about the observations you've made regarding names and labels, which serve as the inspiration for the page! Here in Wisconsin, we just concluded the gubernatorial recall election, and for the last 16 months, all we've seen and heard on a daily basis are nasty names and labels assigned to people of the opposing political party--at work, in the neighborhood, on TV, in speeches. Though the recall is done and over, I fear our state will remain divided and people will continue to disrespectfully label those who are on the "other side."


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