Victorian Ladies Tea Society
Fall Issue, 2001
Interview with Laura Sauer (Boyle) of
Austentation: Regency Accessories and Millinery
Tina Oldaker: Laura, How did you get started in the millinery business?
Laura Sauer: Austentation was launched in January of 2000. For some time I had been experimenting with different styles, creating various Regency inspired hats and bonnets. At the same time, I had been taking courses in Desktop Publishing and Web Design. Discovering that there was not an on-line resource for affordable period hats, it seemed that God was leading me to combine the talents He had given me in order to provide such a service to others.
T.O.: What do you enjoy most about what you do?
L.S.: I really enjoy helping people acquire the final touches to their Regency wear, I also enjoy the challenge of maintaining and updating the website, along with creating new hat styles and meeting custom order requests. I think my favorite part of the whole business, though, has been the opportunity I have had to meet so many people, both Austen enthusiasts and regency fans, around the world.
T.O.: What types of styles do you best like to create?
L.S.: I love historical reproduction. My first love, and area of work is in Regency wear, about 1800-1820, but I absolutely love the extravagance of Victorian millinery and have worked a very little bit in this area as well. I have found that Victorian millinery is much easier to come by, so I like to stay in the Regency era to provide resources that might not otherwise be available.
T.O.: Who do you feel has been the most influential author of the Regency/Victorian/Edwardian era?
L.S.: Oh wow! That is a huge time frame! Nearly 115 years! In the sense of giving people today a feel for what the era was like, I think I would choose Charles Dickens. I canít say that he impacted his time to a great extent, though he was the most popular author of the Victorian era, but he does give a feel for what everyday life was like for a broad span of the populace, from the poverty stricken to the middle upper class.
Jane Austen gives vivid, but as she, herself admitted, limited view of life during the Regency. For upper class Victorian life one might read Edith Wharton or Henry James. These are, of course, all novelists, though. Naturally writers such as Frederich Nietzche and Hudson Taylor genuinely affected (and continue to affect) many more lives than any storyteller. One thing that I particularly enjoy about Dickens is that while giving you picture of the times, he also beautifully illustrates scriptural principles in his stories- Sydney Carton giving his life for Charles Darnay in "A Tale of Two Cities", Daniel Peggoty searching for Little Emily after she had run away, finding her, forgiving her, and starting a new life for her ("David Copperfield") - both of these and more illustrate what Christ has already done for us.
T.O.: What is your most loved work by this author?
L.S.: I think, in descending order, David Copperfield, The Cricket on the Hearth, A Tale of Two Cities.
T.O: You are a Christian, are you not?
T.O.: What does "being a Christian" mean to you?
L.S.: I AM a Christian- that is as much a part of me as the fact that I have brown hair or ten fingers and toes. It is a part of ME. Being is something totally different. Many people are Christians without being Christians. Being implies something that is and is continuing to happen. To me, "Being a Christian" means actively renewing a relationship with Christ- every day. Being means constantly doing. Constantly seeking Godís will over my own, bringing needs, joys, wants and desires before Him. Constantly endeavoring to Seek first the kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 6:33) and forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:13,14) This is what "being" means to me.
T.O.: What aspect of your work best reflects who you are as a lady and Christian woman?
L.S.: One of my favorite aspects of maintaining Austentation is the ability it has given me to point others towards resources that may be of use to them. Whether that resource is a supplier, an informational site or another home business, I love being given the opportunity to help out. As a Christian, I try to do the best job I possibly can when working on projects for customers. I invest a little bit of myself in each item I create. All are handmade and are not complete until the customer is satisfied.
T.O.: What suggestions would you give our readers on strengthening their walks and relationships with Christ?
L.S.: Our family homeschools and one benefit of this is the opportunity to spend a lot of time together which might otherwise be spent in various solitary endeavors. One tradition we have is that each school day morning, we sit around the table for family devotions. This not only starts the day right, but it gives us a chance to talk together, pray and read Godís Word. It doesnít take much time, but the benefits are invaluable. We usually read the Psalms and Proverb for the day (For instance, if it was the 20th, we would read Psalms 20, 50, 80, 110 and 140 and Proverbs 20) and write down verses that either apply to our projects for the day or what we are studying in school that month. Recently my mother led a Ladiesí Bible Study using Wanda Kennedy Sanseriís book, God's Priceless Woman. This book contains lessons on becoming a Titus 2 woman and is suitable for any group size or age range. I highly recommend it. Further testimonials and purchasing information can be found at The Book Peddler