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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

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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

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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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I’ve spent a lot of time being happy in the past couple weeks.

On the personal side, my wife and I recently welcomed our first grandchild into the family, cradling our oldest daughter’s baby in our arms hours after her birth and flashing back to doing the same with each of our three girls when they, too, emerged freshly into the world.

I had no idea what

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

I’m beside myself with satisfaction – and no small amount of pride:  After months of painstaking development, we have within the past week launched two major initiatives within the WaterShapes.com web site:

[ ]  First, the system by which we categorize and file articles has been completely revamped.  

When the site was originally mapped out, we worked with

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Through many of the early “WaterShapes World” blogs, I wrote (perhaps too often?) about what was happening with the WaterShapes franchise and web site and all sorts of grand plans we had to burst back onto the scene with a huge, multilayered portal aimed at serving a broad universe filled by watershapers and their clients and prospects.

In reality, we didn’t do much bursting and instead discovered what all sorts of web operations have experienced through the years:   Making things happen

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Few who shape the water will ever make as profound an aquatic mark on the world as did landscape architect Lawrence Halprin.  

He’s long been a favorite of mine, and we’ve called attention to his work and influence on more than a few occasions in the pages of WaterShapes and on WaterShapes.com.  Along with Thomas Church and very few others, he defined the way we all

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

I’ve been around watershapes on a professional basis since 1986, and I can recall more than a few times when something has crossed my desk that made me cringe.  

Often it was studies released by the National Association of Realtors about what adding a pool does to a home’s value.  On too many occasions it was news about

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

Back in the early days of WaterShapes, I recall a long breakfast conversation with David Tisherman in which we discussed the importance of travel as part of a complete design education.

It was the summer of 1999, and I was on the hunt for artwork to go along with an article Mark Holden was preparing on the history of watershape design:  David was known as someone who had traveled extensively and, more to the immediate point, was an avid taker of photographs of superior quality.

He’d brought several sleeves filled with slides (remember them?) along to breakfast, and as we talked and I reviewed the photos, I was endlessly impressed by how meticulously he’d recorded so many places and details.  I’ve always been a traveler, too, but I never much cared for

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