Good names connect people, places and things

14 Dec

Persian garden vase

Back in 1931 a British potter William Staite Murray made a new creation and then he did something no one else had done before, he thought his vase was of a high art, so he gave the vase the name “Persian Garden”

When he sold this vase, it went for 126 pounds, a few years later a card-carrying communist called Pablo Picasso sold a painting for 200 pounds, Mr Murray did quite well in selling his vase, the Persian garden. Interestingly Picasso always saw himself as a failed Poet.


We tend to see paintings as something we can stand and look at, maybe sip red wine, trying to give the impression that we understand the meaning of the painting, when everyone is doing this, and everyone thinks they are the only ones that don’t understand that don’t understand the art, it’s called pluralistic ignorance.

This is also described as “no one believes, but everyone thinks that everyone believes.”, but I digress

Is it art?

But not with Pottery, with all things ceramic, it has a use, a function, not artistic enough, usually. So we don’t tend to look beyond that, and people usually don’t associate pottery with art.

Mark Rothko – Untitleduntitled-10

Reading about thing Persian garden vase reminded me of a story I heard about a group trying to conserve areas in Los Angeles, when the places don’t have names, people don’t care. So step one, give the place a name, names can give us an emotional attachment to a person, place or thing, its names V nothing

Names it would appear are important in how we value things, like:

  • Places
  • Art – Paintings/Pottery
  • Animals
  • People
  • Cars
  • Houses/Apartment complexes

And then I learnt that there are descriptions for all sorts of Public space types

Animals like dogs and Cats have names, they have animal type names to distinguish them. Scruffy sounds about right for a terrier, Dave, doesn’t have the same ring somehow?


Cows and Pigs don’t have names, if the name of the pig or cow you were going to eat was on the packaging in the supermarket, would you buy it?

Would you eat that stew made from Daisy the cow? If you did, would you go for seconds?

Property developers use poets to help them see a dream

In Santiago Chile, Property developers hire poets to give their apartment developments good names. First you need to sell a dream and then, people want to buy apartments

But sometimes these poems — like good poetry in general — could be transformative. In one particularly cold and humid neighborhood, El Llano, Rodrigo gave buildings names that made it seem almost tropical.

He imagined that residents could forget the weather. Sitting on their balconies, staring off into the slate gray sky, they could dream of beaches. He called several buildings the Cancúns.

Developers were so excited they planted palm trees—which are atypical in Santiago.

Palm trees seen in your dreams, are messages of hopeful situations and happiness of a high order, good names can make a big difference, just ask a property developer!

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