Tag Archives | Splash White Project

The updated Splash White Project page

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Fergies Kitty Hawk, a classic splash (SW1/SW1) Miniature Horse mare owned by Pacific Pintos

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the Splash White Project page has been updated. I am still in the process of adding more horses, but the page is up and working now. It utilizes the WordPress Portfolio feature, which probably requires a little explanation since it is not entirely intuitive, nor is it really designed to work as the kind of visual database that I had in mind.

If you click on the Splash White Project link on the main menu, that will take you to the master page. There you’ll see information on how to submit horses for the page, and a little bit about the purpose of the Project. Underneath that you’ll find a number of small white buttons with different pattern combinations. Below that are thumbnail images of the horses currently in the database. The default is set to “All”, but clicking on the other buttons will allow you to sort the images so that you just see one category – say, all the SW1 homozygous horses, or all the horses that have come up negative on the tests.

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Spooks Hired Gun, a Paint Horse stallion that carries both SW2 and frame overo

From the thumbnails, you can either click on the image, which will bring up the full-sized image in a lightbox, or you can click on the horse’s name. The name will take you to the individual horse’s page, which has links to the owner’s website and links to the pedigrees (and sometimes photos) of the parents. More details on the markings (particularly the eye color) and test results are included as well.

The Portfolio format allows someone to easy sift through the images to see the differences between the patterns and pattern combinations. I have tried to break down the categories as precisely as possible within the limitations of what is currently testable. The one exception are the homozygous SW1 horses, which for the moment are grouped together even when other patterns are present. One of the benefits of using this system for the page is that it is relatively easy to add new categories and shuffle the existing horses around as new tests become available. I anticipate that happening the future, especially as research continues on the mutations that boost or suppress white markings and patterns.

I would also encourage anyone who has tested their horse for one of the splash white patterns to submit their images and information to the database. Every horse is another bit of information about what the various patterns can look like. That is also true even when the horses have tested negative. If you would like your horse included, I can be reached using the contact link (the small envelope on the main menu bar) or by the blog’s Facebook page.

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What the New Year will bring

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I finished sculpting this tile just as I began work on the first volume of Equine Tapestry. Little did I know that its title, “Inspire”, would be so appropriate for the next phase of my life. In the process of writing and publishing the book, I have learned so much, and met so many interesting people, that it would be hard not to be inspired! With that in mind, I wanted to give at least a bit of an update on what will be happening on the horse color side of things in 2013.

My original plan, once the first book was published, was to go back to the studio and finish the many projects that were set aside to focus on the book. I did not count on the fact that once out there, the book – and this blog – might take me in new directions. I am still working on finding the right balance between researching, writing and studio work. And amidst all this, the technology on the publishing side of things has been changing. I am far more accustomed to planning according to the pace at which ceramic technology changes – which is to say, not much at all! – than that of electronic publishing. Some of the limitations that determined my choices when I began work on Volume I are no longer there, while some of the other avenues that seemed so promising have proven to be less than they seemed. As a result, some of my publishing plans have changed.

Good News on Color Printing

The most common comment I received about Volume I was that people wished it was in color. When I began the project, my original printer offered color, but I was extremely disappointed in the quality and consistency of their color. Proofs that should have immediately been caught as being unacceptably off were common, while the cost was high enough to place the book out of the range for many readers. Issues with cost and print quality caused me to switch to a second printer which (at that time) did not offer full-color books as an option. While I would have liked to publish the book in color, the lack of it was designed into the book. Because so much of the book was about historical animals, many of the images were black and white from the start. I was confident that for the front matter, which had the color descriptions, I could select photos that translated well enough in black and white.

What I did not take into account was that the book, although written to talk about color in the context of breed history, would be the most current in a field that has been rapidly changing. The front matter, “Color Descriptions”, was just supposed to get readers on the same page so that when the different breeds were discussed, the colors mentioned would make sense. What many readers relayed to me was that the front half of the book was like a book within a book. It was also this portion of the book that the lack of color was most keenly noticed.

That was on my mind this past fall, when I found a printer that could provide full color at a reasonable price. At first I intended to just reissue Volume I in full color, but as I worked on the redesign, it really struck me how the compromises I made for the material to work in black and white no longer applied. Images that I had left out because they did not provide real information without color could be included. The temptation to include whole spreads of color images was there. Only now my limitation was not the lack of color, but the new printer’s page limits. And so a new idea took shape: a color supplement to the series.

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So work is underway for Equine Tapestry: An Introduction to Colors and Patterns. This will be an expanded version of the front half of Volume I, with more detailed information, particularly on some of combination colors and the lesser-known variations that are either left out or only covered in passing in the first book. It will also be more extensively illustrated with full-color photos and illustrations.

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The target is to have the new book available in the spring of 2013. Until I have a final page count, I will not have a price, but my goal is to keep it around $35.00.

What About the Kindle Version?

As many of you know, my original plan to work around the color problem was to release the book for the Kindle. Original tests done using my own Kindle made this seem like the most promising solution. Unfortunately I have never been able to repeat those same results since those early tests. I ran up against serious degradation of the photos and the captions, even though this was not an issue when I had tested them several months prior. Because all the translation is done through Amazon, and not in-house, I was at a loss for what caused the change. On the heels of that issue came the warning that Amazon had a surcharge for downloading image-intensive books that was passed along to authors. What seemed like an easy answer was less appealing than it originally appeared, especially given that there was going to be a significant learning curve for me to translate the book. As a result, the electronic version was placed on hold, at least for the time being.

That is not to say there will not eventually be an electronic version. I have been given some good leads on how to sell PDF downloads directly from my own site, which many have inquired about in the past. I have also been experimenting with the Apple-based iBooks as well, though I am not sure how widespread devices like the iPad are among potential readers. At the moment electronic formats are taking a back seat to getting files ready for traditional print, but if I can find a system that works for both me and for readers, I will move forward with it.

Other Projects

One of the most surprising aspects of writing the book is how often I am now asked to write. I still think of myself as a potter who likes to talk about horse color, and not truly a writer, even though I have been writing on and off for various publications for decades now. Those requests have gotten a lot more frequent in the last year, which in part explains the gaps of silence here on the blog. Even a prolific chatterer like me only has so much they can say, even about their favorite subject, on any given day! I hope to integrate these projects a little more seamlessly into my other commitments over the next year, though I suspect these interruptions will continue to some extent. I will link to published pieces as they arise.

One thing I hope to improve on the blog is a more timely response to submissions. At the top of this list is the Splashed White Project, which migrated over to my website, but has not yet been fully launched. I will also be working my way through my shamefully backlogged inbox, so if you get a reply after waiting forever, you will know why.

In the meantime, I wish all of you a happy – and colorful! – New Year!

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Starting a series of posts on silver dilutes



If you are just joining us here at the Equine Tapestry blog through the article in the current issue of America’s Horse, welcome! To supplement the information in “Seeing Silver”, I will be adding a series of posts about the silver dilution in the coming days. I would also encourage you to browse through the archived posts, which stretch back a little more than a year now. There is a widget to the right that will allow you to search the archives for key words, or you can click on one of the listed categories to pull up the posts on that topic.

For long-time readers, I still have a few more color oddities to post that might get interspersed with the posts on silver. I am also almost done with the transition of the Splash White Project from the tab here on the blog to a set of pages on the website. Progress there has been hampered somewhat by server outages here on the east coast, but that seems to be improving.

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