Happy Holidays and New Year too!
This year's theme is “snowflakes” – real ones. Due to winter's erratic precipitation and the self-imposed theme, we had to start early on this design--no snow would be present the months preceding card distribution (Aug-Nov) so we started in Feb 2015. We were eventually successful. The snow flake design displayed on the card are actual shapes of flakes harvested and imprinted in West Chester Ohio. It took ~4 attempts, two of which were ~4AM since that is when the snow came. If interested in trapping snowflakes and learning how the card was made, then follow this link/blog post detailing to how this Snow Flake Card was made (previous 17 years of cards are displayed on Lindberg Craft Blog).
Capturing Snow flakes
0) Collect Snow Trap equipment: namely glass microscope slides (available via Amazon) & hair spray; put them in a garage to cool.
1) You need to have snow falling at the "right" rate/density: snow needs to be falling at a slow but steady rate. Too much snow, and they do not imprint separately...not enough, and you won't catch enough on on your "snow trap" described below. This took several rounds of testing.
2) The snow trap consists of microscope slides coated with hair spray (cheers to Aquanet, the champion of 1980's hair styles!). Most hairsprays are dissolved polymer solutions that, once exposed to atmosphere, evaporate allowing the polymers harden. Using "hot" (i.e. room temperature) hairspray will melt fresh snow. Using cold/old coatings will not work since they will not be too dry or too hard to be imprinted. The trick is to coat the slides right before use with pre-cooled hairspray. Keep hair spray and slides in a cold place (i.e. garage); freshly spray the slides right before a snow event and lay them out in the yard.
3) Weigh down the slides on card board otherwise, wind (that often comes with snow) will flip your adhesive coated slides over...and you'll have mulch/debris embedded through out (tested that too).
4) Keep the slides cold as the water melts & polymer hardens: after harvesting the snow flakes, place them in a cold garage. If the snow is coming down heavy, you'll have to retrieve the slides before they get too covered. You need to let the polymer harden and dry before taking them into a warm house. Wait for the snowflakes to melt/evaporate.
5) Image these via (a) a photographic macro-lens with the flakes are still present.... or (b) via a microscope after the flakes melted and evaporated (leaving their image in cast). You'll see that many flakes are only half embedded or overlap. The camera used on the scope is monochrome which reflects the colorless imprint. Simple bright-field imaging is used.
7) Faux-color in Photoshop & Font Battle: These monochrome images are now doctored up in Photoshop with lots of false coloring, masking, and layering options; a number of the snowflakes are isolated atop a template provided from PSprint.com (one of many online printers screenshot below). Art Director Heidi may initiate a war over appropriate fonts, and you should expect to lose. My blocky carved ice letters were "not right for this project" and I was convinced to follow her advice to use a sleek font instead. Erin and Connor concur with mother as per their training. The next battle is with the computer to ensure the printing of CMYK reflects the RGB coloring; this is resolved via opening & exporting the template in Adobe Illustrator (see variety of blues/cyans below). The template is made read for printing. A proof confirms all is well.
Team Lindberg Update
2015 had Connor growing taller than his dad (he's now 6 feet tall at 13yrs of age, cripes). Erin, Connor and Dad were promoted in the Kyu ranks in Aikido (Mushinkan Dojo in Liberty Township under Sensei Domaschko...a great place to learn self-defense without striking/harming your opponent…highly recommended to all). Heidi ramped up her photography hobby to the point she is beginning to take portraits for clients (family photos, Linkedin head shots, & pet portraits). Dad continued pressing his writing hobby and saw his first short story appear in an anthology Heroika: Dragon Eaters (17 authors chronicle the killing of serpents across as many centuries--Seth covered ancient Egypt); also audio books for Seth's dark fiction were released thanks to voice professionals found via Amazon's ACX service. 2016 promises to be fun, as Team Lindberg tackles crazy artistic endeavors!