For all the beauty and creativity that characterize the finished watershapes we cover in our magazine, I often find just as much inspiration in the stories behind these polished works of art. Quite often, in fact, I perceive that these great outcomes are the result of processes of professional and/or personal self-improvement that our contributors are happy to describe in the course of writing their columns or features.
I’d like to say that we deliberately planned on assembling a whole clutch of stories that reflect this self-improvement theme for this particular issue of WaterShapes, but the truth is that this thread emerged on its own, yielding unexpected treasures that shimmer with a brilliance that could never be manufactured or anticipated.
The first of these pieces to reach us was Stephanie Rose’s discussion of her arrival in the realm of project management, which she details in this month’s “Natural Companions” (click here). Then came the story of her work on a project with Randy Beard – and a description in words and photographs of the outcome of the big step she’d taken toward a new and challenging role (click here). Viewed as a set, column and feature demonstrate what can happen when someone is willing to grow and step onto new ground.
chance, the same theme surfaced in Nick Powell’s article, “Boundless Expressions” (click here). In this feature, he chronicles the growth of his family’s business and the course it has taken to become the producer of wildly imaginative and expressive works of ceramic art. In his case, Powell grew up in an environment in which his folks continuously pushed at the boundaries of their chosen artistic medium – a pursuit Powell and his brothers have carried to levels at which they now generate mind-bending works of color and fantastic imagery.
Then we began working on “Technical Daring” by Ron Lacher and Aaron Cowen (click here). In this leading-edge feature, we see the same spirit of ambition applied to the subject of structural engineering through the use of advanced three-dimensional modeling technology. In this specific case, it’s all about a structure that will rise 50 feet above grade on a fragile cliffside in southern California.
First in order in the magazine but last to reach my desk was Brian Van Bower’s “Aqua Culture” column (click here). In his inimitable style, he urges his peers to stretch beyond their comfort zones to find better and more exciting ways to tackle their work – an inspiring message that cuts to the heart of almost any effort to reach for new heights in one’s work or life.
As I said up top, I’d love to take credit for orchestrating this set of thematically related discussions, but I must concede that this collection of inspiring stories is actually a coincidental confluence among enterprising professionals who are sharing their work and approaches with the rest of us. It’s a privilege to provide a forum in which the industry’s best results are on display – and even more so when we have an opportunity to peek behind the curtain of achievement to see the spirit of growth and innovation that drives these watershapers to their finest efforts.