Tag Archives | Equine Tapestry

Oh my, but it’s rather dark in here…


One thing that I noticed, when I switched from a laptop PC to my current desktop Macintosh was that the photos that I had been posting were both extremely dark, and much too saturated. I had been warned that laptop displays were deceptive in this way, but I truly had no idea just how much this was true. Correcting some of my older photos has been on my to-do list for some time now, though have always been so many other things that were more pressing. That is still the case, but as I have been working on the website redesign, I have begun to fix some of them. I am also taking advantage of the larger format of the new layout, and uploading the corrected pictures at a slightly larger size. In the case of “Inch Kenneth”, the custom glazed Imp at the top of this post, that probably makes him larger than life on many screens!

As it stands, the redesign of this site is almost completed. I still have a few more pages to migrate over from the old “horsecolor.info” site, but the format is pretty much set. With so many years of archive covering a wide range of topics (mostly on ceramic production, but also a bit on horse color), I have paid particular attention to sorting out both the categories and the tags to make it easier to find useful posts. You’ll notice the footer on the blog page now has both a global search for the site, and a second search that allows filters by both category and tags. When I finish the redesign on the Equine Tapestry blog – which is my next task – those will be part of that site as well. There is also a fully-functional Feedburner link in the footer, too, for those that want to receive blog posts via email.

All of this is in preparation for the release of the new horse color book, and the two upcoming guidebooks for the equine collectibles community. There are sneak peeks of the covers of each of those on the front page of this site, and I will do a post in the near future with more information on all three. Things are also ramping up in the studio, so watch for photos of new pieces in the coming days.


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An Unintended Hiatus

I knew I had neglected my studio blog while working on my horse color book, but I was genuinely shocked to realize that it had been more than a year since a post was made here. It is, however, a pretty telling indicator of how that particular project moved in and took over my creative life. As an avid reader who really does read the front matter (introductions, acknowledgements) in books, I was aware that writers almost universally mention the sacrifices of their friends and family while they were absorbed in the work. Now I understand why!

The Equine Tapestry was supposed to be a small project – something to fill my time while recovering from foot surgery. What I had in mind was a quick reference guide that equine artists, model horse showers and judges could use to verify the presence (or absence) of colors or patterns in each of the different breeds. I thought that I could give a quick description of the different colors, then a paragraph for each breed. But the world of horse color is changing. New discoveries are outpacing the normal publishing schedules for books. I could not rely on readers being able to find more information to go with a “quick description”, because much of the information could only be found in peer reviewed journals. It is also true that it was just too tempting to begin adding images, which meant a more detailed explanation.

And that was all before I got to the breeds themselves. Keeping the stories to a few paragraphs seemed nearly impossible. What’s more, understanding color in the breeds was too closely tied to how the different stud books were structured. Telling someone that there was a buckskin Shire, and even providing pictures showing her unmistakable color, was not enough. Readers needed to understand why she was a perfectly legitimate – if entirely unexpected – entry in the stud book. Paragraphs became chapters, and before I knew it I had close to 900 pages of manuscript in a book that was not even close to finished.

I decided to split the single book into three, and then eventually four, volumes. The project also changed in scope, so that I was not just writing for people within the equine collectibles industry. I was writing the books that I wished existed. It was – and still is – a labor of love. I should have seen the potential for it to crowd out all but the most essential things in my life. (My friends and family might argue that sometimes even those got short-changed!)

But the first volume went to press in July. At 424 pages, it covers all the (as yet!) known colors and patterns, and then begins with the draft and coaching breeds. In addition to hundreds of photos (many historical images of rare colors), the project included creating 81 illustrations for the various pattern charts.

The book has been far more successful than I ever imagined. In the first week, it went up to the #5 best-selling horse book on Amazon, despite the fact that the majority of the copies were sold directly (through my site here) and were not included in the count. It was also the #1 new release in its category that week. Within two months, it has already exceeded the typical press run of a specialty horse book. The companion blog, Equine Tapestry, that was launched a little over a year ago gets thousands of hits from all over the world. What is even more surprising is that the blog reaches people all over the world, and that has resulted in a lot of new information on some unusual colors. (You can read more about the effect I called Belton and reverse dapple roaning by following the links.)

Obviously with three more books to finish, the project is not really finished. But it is time to return to the studio and the many projects I left here. I suspect that taking a break from all-day writing (and illustrating and editing) will give me better perspective for the next volume, which will cover the pony and small horse breeds.

I do know that focusing on the details of the various colors and patterns has already given me a new perspective that I suspect will benefit the work that will come from the studio. So stay tuned – colorful, shiny things are (once again!) in the works…

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