Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How I made the Beauty and the Beast Fabric Scrapbook

The Story Behind My
Beauty and the Beast
Fabric Scrap Book

By Starfirehawk

I discovered Winterfest too late to participate last year. I had just gotten DVDs of both first and second season of Beauty and the beast and watched them and I searched the internet to find other fans of the show to share my rekindled passion with. When I saw the arts and crafts section of Winterfest 2008 I decided to create something unique to display there in 2009. I considered several ideas before settling on a fabric book. I had already been putting old family photos and my own photography onto fabric with my HP inkjet (scanner, copier, printer) and looking through my old videotape box cover collection I decided the photos of Catherine and Vincent would make a wonderful fabric scrapbook I could have fun making and enjoy showing to friends. This project is strictly for personal enjoyment. I have no intention of selling it.
I absolutely love the poetry that was included throughout the series so I hunted down transcripts of the poems and put them into Word, selected fonts I liked and printed them onto fabric too. My idea was to balance the printed word with the beautiful pictures to honor what I liked best about the show.
I read magazines (‘Quilting Arts” and “Cloth Paper Scissors”) and a number of books (see the list at the end) which helped to give me a vision. I rewatched episodes and took notes on themes, key phrases, and symbols that I saw and then I looked through my collection of upholstery fabric scraps, trims, buttons, scrapbook embellishments, rocks, and odds and ends (Yes, I know, I’m a pack rat. Aren’t all artists?) and gathered my treasures into huge piles. I printed pictures of Catherine and Vincent, as well as the poetry onto fabric (I used several different products to make the fabric transfers but the very best fabric sheets for inkjet I found were made by Jacouard (see their website at These sheets ran through my printer just like cardstock paper and the fabric easily peeled off of the backing and could be cut and sewn very easily. If you use “iron on transfers” instead for text remember to set the printer correctly. I made the mistake of printing some of the poems reversed but used them to iron onto sheer fabric so the poem could be read through the transparent fabric. There are two versions of the song “The first time I loved forever” in my book because I used two different techniques to print onto the fabric and I forgot I had made two versions. I like the romantic feel of both pages.
I had originally intended the last page in my fabric book, the one with Vincent looking through a window with fall leaves blowing around, as the cover, but when I was assembling the book I decided to put the page with the combination of the white rose symbol, hearts, white lace, my favorite painting (from episode Season 2, “When the Bluebird Sings” and copied from the cover of “Beauty and the Beast Portrait of Love” by Wendi Pini) on the cover. The toggle to close the book is made from a clear quartz crystal. I also glued another natural crystal on the cover (see season 1, episode Temptation for the white rose and crystal symbols of Vincent’s and Cathrine’s love).
On the cover there is also a tiny metal tag dangling from a flower motif with the words “Life is measured by moments,” which is an important reoccurring theme in the series. In Season 1, Catherine and Vincent note that Father only got to spend a few days with Margaret (“Song of Orpheus”),
In season 2, Vincent and Catherine are inspired to enjoy one Halloween night together, and in “A Fair and Perfect Knight, Vincent complains that “What we share must always be so measured, so limited.” and Catherine tells him that “There is no life without limits.”
Because of the homespun, layered, handstitched, multi-layered textures of the clothing worn by the people in the underground world I wanted the book to have a somewhat shabby look and made little effort to cut off fraying edges and wild threads. I had intended to hand stitch the pages together with a blanket stitch in a contrasting thread but simply ran out of time and used my industrial sewing machine.
As you look carefully through the photos of my fabric scrapbook pages you’ll see:
· A large variety of upholstery fabric, patchwork quilted into pages, mostly in Earthtone colors and soft velvety textures, to capture the feel of the underground world, as well as scraps of imported English Lace curtains,
· celtic knot imported trim and other fancy trims and laces,
· a ribbon with the words “my one and only my heart’s desire forever and ever together forever a dream come true no one else like you” (a lucky find-- designed for scrapbooking and sold at JoAnn’s fabrics and Crafts store), also ribbons printed with “Remember” and :imagine hope believe joy,”
· dozens of wonderful buttons in shapes of hearts, roses, snowflakes, a fan, an art nouveau design, a hat, leaves and acorns, a white and gold angel, a crescent moon, etc.,
· polymer clay pieces in the shapes of a vase, a sleeping woman’s face, a lion’s face, a dragon, a Pegasus, a griffin, a mask, an angel holding a candle, a lion snarling at a striking serpent (perfect to symbolize Vincen’t battle with violent evil men), etc.
· a tiny bouquet of white ribbon roses,
· bits of old broken jewelry and part of a belt buckle,
· stars on a wire,
· an antique rhinestone button,
· a black velvet sleeve ending in a white silk ruffle with ribbons attached at the wrist,
· feathers,
· a silk rose bud made in France,
· braded leather,
· various keys and a tiny lock (to symbolize the secrecy and that love is the key to everything),
· scrapbook word stickers that say “forgotten memories” under a picture of Father and “loved forever” near Catherine and Vincent’s picture, as well as “dream” and “secret romance”
· plastic Renaissance or Medieval themed embellishments,
· metal scrapbook word “believe” under Vincent and Catherine
· a leather “skin horse’” with fringed mane and tail, and a white velour “velveteen rabbit” I designed,
· a metal plaque engraved with the words “It doesn’t matter where you go, it’s who’s beside you that counts,”
· velvety fall leaves,

I thought long and hard about how to create a toggle to close the book and how to bind it. I used a quartz crystal, wrapped with wire and handstitched it to the cover. I used a looped leather strip with a wooden bead to lasso the crystal and stitched it to the back cover of the book. The binding was done by knoting black cord into three loops for each page and sewing them in between the layers of the pages, then lacing leather strips through the loops, tying a knot and wrapping the ends around a wooden wand with a crystal imbedded in the top (I made this) and tying bows in the leather strips. The book can be carried by the wand in the back, like a handle on a suitcase.
The only thing I would change about my project is I would like to have pages with pictures of each of the supporting characters who played such an important part in the story, particularly Joe Maxwell, Elliott Burch, Narcissa, Pascal, Mouse and Jamie, as well as others. I would like to include a greater variety of key quotes from the characters and more literary references. Ah well, maybe that will be a sequel to this project (maybe you’ll see it in 2010 Winterfest). For now, this fabric scrapbook is my tribute to the Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman, the entire cast, to the producers Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas, and the show’s creater Ron Koslow, and Rick Baker, who designed Vincent’s unique look, as well as all of Beauty and the Beast’s writers, artists, and photographers who have immortalized the show in various ways: this project is dedicated to all of you. Thank you.

Idea Resources Book List

Here is the list of books that helped to teach me about photo transfers, creating fabric books and embellishing:
1. Photo Fun Print your own Fabric for Quilts & Crafts from the Hewlett-Packard Company, Edited by Cyndy Lyle Rymer
2. The Photo Transfer Handbook by Jean Ray Laury
3. Altered Photo Artistry Turn Everyday Images into Works of Art on Fabric by beth Wheeler with Lori Marquette
4. Quilted Memories Journaling, Scrapbooking & Creating Keepsakes with Fabric by Lesley Riley
5. Mixed Media Explorations by Beryl Taylor
6. Altered Book Collage by Barbara Matthiessen
7. Collage, Assemblage, and Altered Art Creating Unique Images and Objects by Diane Maurer-Mathison
8. Fabric Art Journals Making, Sewing, and Embellishing Journals from Cloth and Fibers by Pam Sussman
9. Fabric Memory Books by Lesley Riley
10. Creating with Fabric by Jill Haglund
11. Embellished Mini-quilts by Jamie Fingal
12. Art Journals & Creative Healing by Sharon Soneff

No comments: