Behind the Name.

"How could I possibly join them on to the little bit (two inches wide) of ivory on which I work with so fine a brush, as produces little effect after much labour?"
- Jane Austen, letter to her nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh

Since I was a young'un, I loved naming things. Not to show ownership, but because there was always a story or meaning behind each and every name. Squishy Bunny was Squishy Bunny because he was, well, squishy. Melvin my dinosaur stuffed animal was Melvin because of his red-striped hat and fancy red scarf. All of my stuffed animals had names, and each had purpose in my life.

When it came time to naming my business almost 5 years ago, I knew I didn't want to be Chelsea LaVere Photography. It just wasn't me. At the time, I was transitioning from my maiden name and both names carried histories upon histories of people before me. Neither name was the heart of who I am individually.

At the heart, I wanted a personal connection. I wanted to operate a low volume business model. And I wanted something that spoke through time. ... and to me, that was Jane Austen. 18th-19th Century British Literature was my concentration in college, and so I had dedicated 4 years of study with Austen either in the background or foreground. There was no escaping her, and therefore she lodged herself permanently in my way of thinking and in my heart.

My best friend Elaine and I were sitting on the couch when it hit. I have to give credit to her because we were throwing out so many different Jane Austen references a la Google. And then we read that quote.

I could spout intellectual meaning behind this quote, but I think AustenBlog says it best. :)

The “little bit (two inches wide) of ivory” was a metaphorical reference; Jane was describing a pocket diary that was made of sheafs of ivory bound together. The owner would write little notes to herself in pencil, which could later be erased after being transferred to a more permanent medium. She meant that her works were on a smaller scale; in another letter she talked about her novels being about “four or five families in a country village.” In a time when romantic novels on the grand scale, what Walter Scott referred to as “the big Bow-wow strain,” were in vogue, no doubt Jane’s novels would seem to many to be impossibly small in scope; however, we submit that Jane purposely worked on that intimate scale, and not because she felt herself incapable of more; she simply preferred it, and felt it best. - AustenBlog

So there you have it! Though I'm quite pale and work with lovely brides wearing all shades of white, Bit of Ivory Photography has roots in my English-major past. :)

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