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Alice Kelley's Seeking the Spiral Fractal Gallery


How do I name them?

I've had people ask me how I name my fractals. The naming process can be challenging because generally I try to avoid the obvious (such as, "It looks like an elephant standing on its head!"). I prefer concept names that provide an added dimension to the fractal, a new way of looking at it. Especially in my early days, though, I was much more likely to give a fractal a name that represented what it looks like, such as "Snowstar," or, "Rainforest." All names like that came from me.

I've had friends over the years who have helped me name fractals. Linda Lasch, who is a shining star of creativity, has provided some wonderful names ("Rhapsody on a Leaf,") and Ellen O'Connor has often helped in the past ("Millefiori"). Pam Hilsheimer and Susan Shuman have also been in the "inner circle." Deryck Richardson named, "Ad Infinitum." I would like to acknowledge their invaluable assistance at times when I was so focused on the fractals that I had nothing left for the additional creative process of naming them. Even if I didn't specifically use a suggested name, I might modify it or it might prompt me to think of something new.

One friend in particular that I would like to mention is Maureen Flora. She is someone to whom I could hand a stack of fractals and she could go through them one by one and give the most amazing suggestions. In fact this very thing happened one summer in a car, with me handing small printouts to her in the back seat and her calling out names. And thus the classic, "The Great Clam of the Galaxy Speaks," was named that day.

I have no doubt that her agile mind in part comes from her background in poetry and creative writing. Maureen is responsible for other classics such as, "Pure Departure," "Drowning in Bliss," Pearl's Dark Dream," and "Ornament for Rhyme," among many others. For the 2019 calendar, which I have just wrapped up with Amber Lotus as of this writing, Maureen named ten of the images. Linda introduced me to the idea of conceptual, rather than literal, names, and Maureen took the concepts to a new level, offering names that cause the viewer to see the fractal in a whole new, and often unexpected, frame of reference. Maureen seems to sense the energy of the fractal in addition to its literal form.

The fractals wouldn't be what they are without the assistance of my friends, and I know the fractals would thank them if they could! I am lucky to have had such good friends to share and contribute to the process.

The Clam says, "So long, and thanks for all the fish!"

(with apologies to Douglas Addams).


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All Images Copyright Alice Kelley