The web site for all professionals and consumers who've made or want to make water a part of their lives

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_2-17-21AAWimages_2-17-21AAWjapanesebath.jpgIn this delightful and insightful essay, Anthony Archer Wills takes us on a far-flung journey into bathing traditions and the use of water in fine art. A pursuit, he explains, that is both exciting and worthwhile because to create with water is to understand its profound influence on our forms of creative expression, emotion and even spirituality. 

 

Open waters banner logoConcrete is amazing material. Its presence in the modern architectural landscape is so widespread and diverse, it can be easy to miss the masterful way it’s been used both as a structural and aesthetic element. Here’s an example of both, a modern classic Eric Herman discovered near his home in the California desert.

Unbeknownst to many, one of our nation’s Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, was arguably also our “founding” swimming enthusiast. Along with helping our nation win its freedom and establish our system of government, Franklin had quite a lot to say about the value of swimming  -- he even invented swim fins.

 

Open waters banner logoIn a dramatic example of human ingenuity, Venice, Italy, scored a major victory in its fight to survive rising waters that have threatened its very existence. Nearly five decades in the making, the city recently raised a system of barriers preventing a potentially devastating flood.

Open waters banner logoBy Eric Herman

As an admitted word geek devoted to writing about all things aquatic, it’s always exciting to learn a new term or phrase. I recently read a great story from bbc.com about Icelanders’ love or even obsession with public swimming pools, which in the Icelandic language are known as “Sundlaugs.” 

The story chronicled the day that public pools reopened in Iceland after two months of shutdown due the current pandemic. At midnight on that Sunday, throughout the

Open waters banner logoBy Eric Herman

Editor’s note: Welcome back to Open Waters, the space where we explore the wide world of water in a series of blogs, book reviews, charitable profiles, and travelogues. The topic of this 2nd edition profile was brought to our attention by Wallace “J” Nichols, author of “Blue Mind” and co-founder (with Watershape University) of the Live Blue Foundation.

WaterShapes’ editor, Eric Herman, is passionate about all aspects of water, and he’s made it his business to understand how it impacts the human condition. He recently spent four years living in Washington State where he and his wife found profound examples of water’s ability to shape lives. Here’s what he has to say about that experience.
WaterShapes’ editor, Eric Herman, is passionate about all aspects of water, and he’s made it his business to understand how it impacts the human condition. He recently spent four years living in Washington State where he and his wife found profound examples of water’s ability to shape lives. Here’s what he has to say about that experience.
By Eric Herman

The word “awesome” is badly overused these days, but not so when it comes to describing the waters of Washington State, where living in a state of awe is a common state of mind. My wife, Diane, and I recently concluded four years living in the wilderness there and came away from that experience with deepened appreciations for the many ways the presence of water influences how people live. Not to mention how water shapes everything from politics to geography to the names of the professional sports teams.

The presence of water in the landscape profoundly impacts the lives of the people who live around it, and that’s been true throughout human history. Because we rely on the presence of water for our survival – as well as transportation, recreation, agriculture and manufacturing everything from medicine to steel – how we choose to

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_3-18-20Travelogue_0.jpgBy Jim McCloskey

When WaterShapes went all-digital back in July 2011, there was one big story looming in the print-magazine horizon: That summer, as finishing touches were being added to the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan, we were all set to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the fountain portion of the project in a September issue that never materialized.

This missed opportunity with the memorial has been somewhere in

0By Jim McCloskey

This is a tale of frustration followed by great joy.

On my way home from the Atlantic City Pool & Spa Show last month, I paused in Philadelphia to spend three days visiting with two of my daughters. Beyond catching up with them, I had a mission: I wanted to see the remodeled fountain in Franklin Square. It was under construction the last time I visited, and my understanding is that it is now

By Jim McCloskey

When my wife and I made the long drive from St. Louis to Los Angeles in October 2017, I knew that once we crossed the Missouri state line in Kansas City (the glorious “City of Fountains”), we weren’t going to see any significant watershapes on the path we’d selected.

We stopped in some great non-aquatic spots in Kansas, memorably the Wizard of Oz Museum in Wamego and S.P. Dinsmoor’s Garden of Eden in Lucas. But mostly we set our sights on pushing through at an unwavering pace to Durango, Colo., with thoughts of

0By Jim McCloskey

I’m drawn to water whenever I hear or see it – and this was a case where both factors came into play simultaneously.

After spending a couple hours enjoying the garden portion of the Roberto Burle Marx exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden last September, my family and I spent some time exploring NYBG’s other attractions on a leisurely

0By Jim McCloskey

There have been a few times in life when I’ve turned a corner and gasped. Coming through the long tunnel into Yosemite Valley for the first time and seeing Bridal Veil Falls, Half Dome and El Capitan all at once did it for me. Seeing the Fountains at Bellagio for the very first time did it, too.

Beyond that rare sort of experience, however, I’ve been pretty unflappable. Just a few weeks ago, however, gasping erupted again as I made my way through

Unable to resist, Jim McCloskey traveled across the country last month to see the New York Botanical Garden's exhibition on the art of Roberto Burle Marx just a few days before it closed. It was a revelation, he says, and gave him an even deeper respect for the artist and the man.
Unable to resist, Jim McCloskey traveled across the country last month to see the New York Botanical Garden's exhibition on the art of Roberto Burle Marx just a few days before it closed.  It was a revelation, he says, and gave him an even deeper respect for the artist and the man.
By Jim McCloskey

The great Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx has been part of my consciousness for many years. I first heard of him in 1991, when a friend who’d seen an exhibition about his work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York gave it a rave review. At the time, however, it was mostly his unusual name that stuck in mind.

Then came 2007, when WaterShapes published an article by Raymond Jungles that recounted his experience in working with Burle Marx in Brazil and fully opened my eyes to the

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