Meet my artistic rendition of Jack Frost! This is a composite of three images I created during my graduate school days. All three were taken with a 4x5 camera very close to frosted-over windows at sunrise. In Wisconsin, there isn't much else to do when the temperature is -20 degrees F. I processed the grayscale negatives in my basement darkroom and had them commercially scanned.
Once I had each image scanned, I was able to select separate portions and stack the sections of frost together. The face came alive when I duplicated one image and flipped it horizontally, bringing the two edges together in the middle. A little more layering of crystals and a bit of lightening and darkening various areas revealed this handsome face.
This image came to mind when I learned that Spoonflower is hosting a monthly competition called Ice. What does ice really look like? How can we make something we see through come to life? When I pulled up this image (I archive a ridiculous number of images!) from Y2K and looked closely, I could see the grayscale elements that make frost so beautiful.
Here's another photo of frost from the same series taken in Y2K. If you look closely, you can see that both shape and contrast are evident. Light against dark, spirals, curves, details. And yes, I saw the face in this image, too!
How can this be used in pattern design? I've taken snippets of these photos and brought them into Adobe Illustrator. After using Image Trace on them, I can delete, rearrange, change values and colors, and revamp the shapes of these designs until I find something that inspires me. From there, my imagination will have to come up with visually intriguing designs.
What's the moral of this story? Look closely and document what you see. Save files that inspired you at one time. They may inspire you again. And if these photos inspire you to create designs with frost, I'd be most pleased indeed.