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Taking Shape

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WaterShapes LogotypeEric Herman

The issue you hold in your hands marks the completion of WaterShapes’ fifth year in print – a milestone that I can’t believe is happening so soon.

It doesn’t seem all that long ago that publisher Jim McCloskey called me over for one of his “moving meetings.” It started at his home office, where he began telling me about a flash he’d had a few days earlier while (appropriately enough) sitting in his spa. As we walked for miles through his neighborhood on that sunny morning in the spring of 1998, he shared his hunch that the time was right to launch a magazine focused solely on the design, engineering and construction of man-made bodies of water.

Many months and hundreds of hours of research and exploratory conversations later, we pulled the premiere issue of WaterShapes off the presses in February 1999. The name of the magazine was unusual, but we’ve always seen it as appropriate because the content we’ve discussed and collected has been equally unusual, coming as it does from a mix of landscape and pool/spa professionals with information on pools, spas, fountains, ponds, streams, waterfalls and every other form of contained, controlled water anyone can think of.

For a time, I must say, both the people we asked to participate as authors and many of the prospective advertisers we asked to support our cause were, well, a bit unsure of the approach we were taking.

In fact, those of us who worked on the publication in those early days spent an amazing amount of time simply explaining what we meant by the term watershape and why we saw value in the confluence of industries the newly coined term described. We discussed it, then as now, as a bold, new direction – “a new magazine for a new millennium” – and as a new way of looking at the business of making recreational and decorative bodies of water.

Some told us they’d be surprised if we survived past our first issue, and the more generous among the skeptics gave us a year or two. But many more among you were quick to latch onto the broad creative discussion we were working to encourage – and it gives us much more than a small measure of pride to say that the supportive voices have turned out to be both more prescient and much more persistent.

To celebrate the event of our Fifth Anniversary, we offer you this very special issue: a complete index of all the columns and feature articles we’ve published during the past five years, along with a generous selection of images intended to trigger your memories and give you the keys you need to unlock a treasure trove of ideas, information and resources.

On one level, it’s a tool you can use when looking for features and columns we’ve provided, broken out by author and categorized into broad topical areas. On another level, it’s a remarkable testimonial to the extent to which people in the industry – designers, engineers and builders as well as suppliers – have gotten behind the magazine and breathed abundant life into its pages, issue after issue.

Speaking for myself after five years with the magazine, I recognize the incredible opportunity I’ve been given to work with highly creative and decidedly adventurous people from all corners of what can now be called the Watershaping Industry. And the best, as they say, is yet to come!

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