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

Floating in Style

9-23 travelogue 1By Jim McCloskey

I came out of college as a full-fledged art-and-architecture geek:  By the time I was through, I’d taken more than my share of classes in very dark rooms.  

When I set out on my self-directed tour of Europe about ten months after graduating, I knew there were countless places I wanted to see with my own eyes

Read more: Floating in Style

Water Emotion

8-19 travelogue artBy Jim McCloskey

Our early-summer trip to Yellowstone National Park was a revelation to me, pure and simple.  As I related in my Travelogue for July 22 (click here), the thing that occurred to me is that the inspiration at Yellowstone comes less from

Read more: Water Emotion

Nature's Studio

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_7-22-15travelogue_7-22YNPopener.jpgBy Jim McCloskey

For most of my life, I’ve been lucky to live within easy driving distance of a bunch of great national parks.  Yosemite, Sequoia, Joshua Tree – the names alone flood my mind with memories of towering waterfalls, raging rivers, incredible landscapes, amazing rock formations and campfires that couldn’t quite keep the cold at bay.

In all my visits through the years, I’ve seen these “neighborhood” parks as naturalistic-design laboratories, as settings in which careful observation influences the work, fills the spirit and send watershapers back to the drawing board with all sorts of general ideas that might be of use down the line.  Conceptual and visual treats, in other words – the stuff of inspiration.

Last month, my wife and I ranged a bit farther afield than usual, hopping a plane to visit Yellowstone National Park.  I have to say that the experience completely altered my sense of what a “naturalistic-design laboratory” might be.  In this one park, I saw more

Read more: Nature's Studio

Recent comments

  • Very inspiring. I have added it to my bucket list. I have avoided it due to heavy use. Want to get there during off season, maybe late fall before snows set in? You have been fortunate to spend so much time in those spectacular CA Nat'l Parks!
View other comments

Unadulterated Fun

6-24 travelogue 0By Jim McCloskey

I’ve been writing these Travelogues once or twice a month since 2011, and a request from a reader for information about a particularly famous watershape revealed a significant gap in our information base:  To my astonishment, I recognized I’d never written about

Read more: Unadulterated Fun

Turkey Revisited

10-year logoBy David Tisherman

‘For years,’ wrote David Tisherman in his Details column in the June 2005 issue of the magazine, ‘people have asked me where I get my ideas – pools raised out of the ground, the small spillways, the drain details, the modular deck treatments, the color usage and the use of reflection, to name just a few.  “Through my design education” is the short answer, of course, but I can get more specific if we take a look at

Read more: Turkey Revisited

Rising Aspiration

5-20 travelogue art 0 -- DaderotBy Jim McCloskey

I lived in Cleveland at a point when I was too young to remember a thing about the place:  We moved there when I was ten months old and stayed for about a year.  But I’ve always considered it as one of my several “home towns” and have been back there twice since we moved away in 1957, both times on business – and both times before I became

Read more: Rising Aspiration

Recent comments

  • This fountain was originally executed in the late 1950's and then renovated in the late 1980's when a parking garage was build underneath it. The original jets and equipment were replaced as were the original lights in the sidewalls of the pool to create the color of water that Mr. Fredericks wante...
View other comments


AkeleyGunBy Lily Samuels and William Drakeley

From mine shafts to subway tunnels, from fountains to swimming pools, shotcrete has long been the preferred material of construction for major projects worldwide.  This process, which involves the spraying of concrete material at a high velocity onto a receiving surface to achieve compaction, offers substantial advantages over alternative approaches with respect to durability, versatility, integrity and sustainability.

This has been the case ever since the technique was invented at the turn of the 20th century, yet only now are watershapers – professionals who have made concrete such a crucial part of their livelihoods – truly coming to understand and appreciate shotcrete for what it is.

In this three-part series, we’ll start with the story of shotcrete’s origins – a tale of insight, ingenuity and entrepreneurship.  Then we’ll trace

Read more: Beginnings

Face Time

4-22 travelogue 0By Jim McCloskey

A few weeks back, I paid a visit to Santa Rosa, a city in the heart of California’s Sonoma County wine appellation.  

I wasn’t there to taste wine, surprising as that may seem.  Instead, I went to visit with Jim Wilder, a regular WaterShapes contributor and fountain specialist who’s spent his career working up and down the valley, quite often

Read more: Face Time


3-18-15travel1By Jim McCloskey

Just recently, a business acquaintance suggested I would enjoy a meeting scheduled for a downtown Los Angeles hotel.  I figured I’d go because the Museum of Contemporary Art is right down the street and I hadn’t been there for a while.

So off I went, braving rush-hour traffic, biting hard when I discovered it would cost me nearly $40 to park for the morning and doing my best to

Read more: Serendipity

Seeing Nature

2-18 travelogue artBy Jim McCloskey

Over the holidays this past December, we broke with family tradition and, instead of gathering around tree and hearth as we’ve done as a family every year since 1982, all of us headed to the Big Island of Hawaii for an entirely new sort of celebration.

My wife and I had been there once before, staying at what was then the newly opened Hyatt Regency Waikoloa for a meeting of the National Spa & Pool Institute’s Board of Directors.  (I recall that Skip Philips was chairman at the time.)  After that meeting nearly 25 years ago, Judy and I had taken several extra days and motored around the island at a leisurely pace, staying in tiny motels and spending most of our time

Read more: Seeing Nature

Gliding Step by Step

1-21 travelogue artBy Jim McCloskey

When I prepare my Travelogues, I always spend some time, usually midway through the process, looking at what’s available on the Internet to support the basic observations I’m getting ready to offer.  Often, for example, I’ll confirm information I already have about designers or engineers or installers (and their clients), touching all the bases to get the details right.

As important, I’m on the lookout for

Read more: Gliding Step by Step

Tale of the Tortoise

12-17 travelogue art 1By Jim McCloskey

I haven’t called attention to many of what you might call “conventional” fountains in my Travelogues.  You know what I mean:  the standard sort of bowl fountains with modest flows, bronze sculptures and lots of patina.  It’s not that I haven’t come across many that I like and admire during my travels; it’s just that most of their stories seem a bit too similar.

In the case I’ll discuss here, however, there’s an

Read more: Tale of the Tortoise

Kinetic Wonder

11-19 travelogue art 2By Jim McCloskey

Way back in my Pool & Spa News editor days – I want to say circa 1990, but I may be off by a year or two – we ran a piece on a waterfeature built by Mike Stachel of Mt. Lake Pool & Patio (Doylestown. Pa.) to meet the needs of the Philadelphia Zoo’s relentlessly cute capybaras.

I’ve forgotten all of the details of the article (which, as a small twist

Read more: Kinetic Wonder

You are here: Home ARTICLES Travelogues/History