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

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

If you’ve spent any time at all looking through the ARTICLES section of WaterShapes.com, I’m certain you’ll have noticed that we’ve been busy:  At this point, nearly 1,500 articles have been uploaded to the site, all of them configured in easily searchable .html format.

This treasure trove of information has been broken down into topical groups to make the process of navigating everything

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

While I was in Las Vegas at the International Pool|Spa|Patio Expo, a young gentleman I’d never met before approached the booth and asked, “So what’s the difference between Essential and Platinum Reflections?”

“That’s simple,” I replied, pointing out that Essentials in the twice-monthly WaterShapes EXTRA newsletter are articles I see as being must reading for anyone who

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

It’s that time of year again, planning for Thanksgiving and family fun on the one hand while simultaneously getting ready for the International Pool|Spa|Patio Expo and an altogether different sort of family fun on the other.

For the former, we’ll have an unusually full house this year, with both of my brothers and at least one and possibly two of my three sisters here with their families and significant others in tow.  I’d like to think they’re coming to see how their brother, a vegetarian for 40 years, does in preparing

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

I’ve done an awesome amount of painting in the past six months – two bedrooms, two hallways, a den, a kitchen, a utility room and our living room as well as the outside of the front door.  I won’t count the two bathrooms, because I painted them last year:  They looked so good that the pressure mounted to bring everything else up to speed.

I learned two invaluable lessons along the way.

First, having the right

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

Through the years, one of my favorite advocacies at WaterShapes has had to do with building awareness among watershapers about the health benefits that result from what you all do for a living.

We’ve worked with the National Swimming Pool Foundation on many occasions, for example, lining up articles that have either reported on research related to the specific benefits of swimming and/or water exercise, or told personal stories of what

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

I don’t want to come across like a grumpy old man, but I don’t think kids today are experiencing anything like the aquatic childhood I did.

I grew up swimming and bathing and playing in commercial and private swimming pools; wooden, plastic and concrete hot tubs; streams, lakes, rivers, oceans, seas, bays, sounds and gulfs.  I still swim and know I always will.

I grew up taking

WaterShapesWorldBlogBy Jim McCloskey

For weeks now, I’ve been following the news about a prominent San Francisco fountain that, until recently, seemed on the express train to oblivion.

It’s a tale of a changing cityscape and the desire of a company known for rigidly controlling its visual image to remake a retail space in a way that suited its corporate design sensibilities.  

It’s the story of an artist who recently passed away – one who spent her early years confined in

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

This has been a summer I won’t soon forget, personally or professionally.

On the former side, it started wondrously with the birth of my first grandchild, which came shortly before I helped my oldest daughter, her husband and the new baby move houses (an adventure that sent me to the hospital with a severely strained back).  It continued with my youngest daughter’s completion of her undergraduate studies, her grand tour of Europe and her start in medical

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

Making the transition from printed magazine to digital newsletter has been interesting, to say the least.   I never thought I’d even think something like this, but there are so many advantages to the “new media” approach that I wouldn’t even consider doubling back to ink and paper at this point.

One limitation that always bothered me in print, for example, was the fact that my art director and I had to select from among so many nice, wonderful, big photographs and crunch them down into tiny spaces.  To be sure, we balanced the small ones with lots of large ones, but I can’t think of too many features in which I didn’t wish for extra

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

The other day, a friend sent me a link to an Australian web site promoting a town council’s campaign to get homeowners to convert their swimming pools into ponds.  I know of several watershapers who get involved in these sorts of projects stateside; in fact, WaterShapes EXTRA once featured a pool-to-pond transformation in which an old, unused pool became a great display pond for a garden center (linked below).

The point that grabbed my attention

Ripples_art--small.jpgBy Jim McCloskey

I was a bit startled to read that the University of Alabama intends to put a waterfall feature in its football team’s locker room.

I’m as quick to advise anyone who will listen of the wisdom of being around moving water.  It conditions the air, settles the nerves, eases the spirit, masks the world’s noises and offers at least a dozen additional benefits, so there’s a slippery logic to placing what’s being described as a small cascade in the space.

But I have to wonder if

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

About 18 months ago, I began (but after a while moved on from) a series of blogs about specific features and details of watershapes that I like or dislike.  Other than my tendency to have a short attention span, I don’t know quite why I stopped writing those articles – and maybe I’ll get back to them someday in a systematic way.

For right now, however, recent personal experience makes me write about one particular detail that has bothered me

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

In just a few days, my wife and I will be heading out on a road trip that will take us to Yosemite and then on to the eastern slope of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains.

It’s been a while since we took a trip like this one.  Last time, we had a great camping spot reserved in a meadow high above Yosemite Valley.  When we arrived in the middle of that June, however, the campsite was still under about 14 feet of snow, so we had to make do in what was, because so many higher-elevation sites were

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