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Contrasting the Arts
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Contrasting the Arts

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WaterShapes LogotypeEric Herman

If you’ve been reading WaterShapes for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that we take more than a bit of pride in presenting the arts and crafts of watershaping in the broadest possible ways. From modest and subtle to bold and elaborate, the work of our contributors truly runs the gamut of artistic and design sensibilities.

Through it all, our goal has been to explore and examine the full spectrum of available techniques, technologies and ideas as a means of defining a wide-open universe of approaches, tools and possibilities for you as a watershaper.

As we see it, this is necessary because watershaping means different things to different people. demonstrating the linkages between diverse practices, we believe we have forged a perception that no matter where you come from – the pool industry, the fountain business, the landscape trades – as watershapers you share a bond that comes from a desire to work with water to produce work that is exciting, beautiful and enjoyable.

In this issue, we’re showing off our affection for diversity in just about the broadest way possible, on the one hand featuring a most ancient handicraft and on the other looking at the leading edge of high technology:

[ ] In “Walls of Stone” (click here), we take another look inside the artistry of landscape designer Bruce Zaretsky, one of our long-time contributors whose work leans toward the intimate and even spiritual side of watershaping. This time, he details the ancient art of dry-stacking stone walls that are held together by nothing more than gravity, friction and the adroit placement of individual rocks one atop the other.

In preparing this piece for print, it struck me that this article could’ve been written thousands of years ago, inscribed on clay tablets in the court of Hamurabi. The whole, wide world is laced with walls of this kind, some of them thousands of years old and still in use. As Zaretsky demonstrates, these stone structures lend a timeless sense of beauty and amazing durability to a project.

[ ] Moving to the opposite extreme, you’ll find “A Crowning Achievement” by Larry O’Hearn of Canada’s Crystal Fountains (click here). This is the latest among several submissions from this firm, which is known worldwide for design and installation of exceptionally creative fountain projects.

In this case, O’Hearn and colleagues flash their technical chops in a project completed last summer for Chicago’s Millennium Park. The Crown Fountain combines huge video screens with computer-controlled water effects synchronized to moving images. I’ll leave it to you to absorb the finer details, but let me say that this project just can’t be matched when it comes to sheer technological sophistication and daring.

Between these two extremes are limitless possibilities for those seeking to deliver excitement, beauty and delight to their clients. Whether you ever aspire to the technical complexities of a Crown Fountain or apply the craft of a skilled stonemason, we hope that simply placing these diverse possibilities under the same umbrella will help you see that your work is linked to great traditions of craft passed down for generations as well as to a boundless future.

To my way of thinking, that’s just the kind of insight that keeps the creative juices flowing.

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