By Eric Herman
Since the beginning, we at WaterShapes have made no bones about the philosophical connection between our magazine and Genesis 3, the design group for watershaping professionals seeking to elevate their craft. Genesis 3 came on the scene shortly before the magazine did, and it always seemed to us that its founders were working to achieve with their schools exactly what we’re trying to accomplish in print.
This common purpose has made sense to them as well, and all three are generous contributors to the magazine – indeed, Brian Van Bower and David Tisherman are both WaterShapes columnists. It also bears mentioning that Brian, David and their partner, Skip Phillips, are longtime friends of WaterShapes publisher Jim McCloskey and me.
No matter how simpatico the people behind Genesis 3 and WaterShapes may be, it’s still surprising to me when I’m reminded of just how dynamic and important the “Genesis Movement” really is. Just this past April, I attended Genesis 3’s Level II School in Islamorada, Fla. Typical of all their schools, this was a unique confab for creativity that stretched over many days in a beautiful (and isolated) setting.
In this case, 15 students from the pool and landscape design and construction trades traveled (mostly) a long way to learn from a roster of truly wonderful and prestigious instructors assembled by Brian, David and Skip. This was my third Genesis 3 program, and each time I’ve come away with the feeling that I’m witnessing nothing less that the emergence of a new art form – and the revolutionizing of a trade.
By giving attendees instruction on a broad range of design-oriented topics and setting the events in beautiful locations featuring great food, wine and entertainment, Genesis 3 not only provides important philosophical and technical information, it also conveys the benefits of living “the good life” that can result from success.
It’s a powerful message, and one that often leaves those who attend these events feeling transformed. “For the watershaper whose passion is pursuing excellence and working at the cutting edge, there’s no better collective body of knowledge anywhere,” said Steve Swanson, a watershaper from Northern California. “Having the opportunity to discuss this knowledge with like-minded individuals is priceless.”
“What this event has demonstrated to me is that you’ll never know how high you can go until you think in terms of reaching for your own true potential,” said Texas landscape designer Sterling Dees. “It’s a whole new ballgame for me: I feel like everything has changed.”
For me, seeing the lights go on in students’ eyes further cemented the notion that exploration of the spectrums of watershaping possibilities can profoundly benefit anyone interested in taking the journey. For the vast majority of you who haven’t yet attended a Genesis 3 school, you can at least begin your travels into the wide reaches of the craft simply by reading WaterShapes.
Regrettably, however, the magazine doesn’t come with food or wine . . .